Diplomatic Report 2000

The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order
of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta

Click here for the complete report

Loading equipment :ECOM workers (Order of Malta Emergency Corps) leaving to provide relief in the area of Chibuto in Mozambique (March 2000).

Relief Services and Ambulance Corps

Since the foundation of the ambulance corps in Ireland in 1938, relief services have developed into one of the Orderís most important activities. The majority of the volunteers work in relief services or as part of the Orderís ambulance corps. They provide first aid, disaster relief and social services. In addition, our relief agencies carry out extensive work with and for youth, with similar organisations set up in more than 30 countries.

This work has been particularly successful in Central and Eastern Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Hospitals, Medical Centres and Medical Programmes

For the most part, the Orderís hospitals are located in Europe - Germany, France, the UK and Italy, with the majority being general hospitals. There are also specialist hospitals or hospitals with specialist units, for example, the Orderís hospital in Rome, which specialises in the treatment of neurological disorders and rehabilitation. The hospitals in the UK and in Belgium, as well as some in Germany, have specialist units for the treatment of the terminally ill with palliative care specialists. The Order also runs palliative care centres in Argentina, Australia, Italy, South Africa and the United States, and care of the terminally ill, in hospitals or in the home, has developed into one of the Orderís fundamental programmes, carried out with the support of many volunteers. In addition to its work in France, the French Association runs hospitals and clinics in Benin, Togo and Senegal and the Maternity Hospital in Bethlehem, Palestine, which is a joint venture involving the whole Order. Since 1990, this hospital has brought more than 25,000 babies into the world. In Senegal and Cambodia, the Order runs special hospitals for the treatment of leprosy.

CIOMAL: Leprosy relief work has long been one of the Orderís main missions and CIOMAL (the International Committee of the Order of Malta), based in Geneva, was founded specifically for this purpose. This Committee runs programmes to fight leprosy in Cambodia and assists in leprosy relief in other countries, Brazil in particular. Recently, CIOMAL diversified and expanded its programmes to include providing special care and treatment for HIV-positive pregnant women, in an effort to prevent the transmission of the virus from mother to child. The first projects are already underway in Mexico and Senegal. The Order runs many medical centres around the world, with establishments in Poland, Hungary, the United States, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Peru and South Africa. Some of these are specialist centres, such as the diabetes treatment centre in Italy or the childrenís unit in the Czech Republic.

The majority of the Orderís clinics in the Lebanon and El Salvador were created during their times of civil war. They are now part of those countriesí national health systems. In developing countries, the Order has frequently played a role in the creation, temporary management and rehabilitation of patients in hospitals and clinics, for example, in regions of Africa affected by armed conflicts.

In the Great Lakes district in Africa, and Kerala, in India, the Order supports the setting up of basic public health services.

The French Association also supports medical institutions in Madagascar and other countries in West Africa, organising a system for the collection and sorting of medicines, according to a method established by the Order in France and approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).

On many occasions, the German Associationís relief service has provided medical care for UN peace missions (in Central America, Kuwait, East Timor).

Institutions for the Disabled and Disabled Relief Services

The Order maintains five specialised medical centres in France for the seriously disabled. There are also centres for the disabled in Hungary, Ecuador and the Lebanon.

The services provided for the disabled include annual pilgrimages, holiday camps for disabled youth, and, especially in Germany and Scotland, transport services.

Institutions and Support for the Elderly

There has been a significant increase in relief services for the elderly. The Order runs specialist centres for the care of the elderly in the UK, Germany, Austria, Spain, the United States, Chile and Mexico.

The Order also provides a diverse range of services designed to make life at home easier for older people, including meals-on-wheels, transport services, home visits, help with shopping and the operation of an emergency call system.

Support for Children and Adolescents

In Brazil, Mexico and Chile, the Order has a range of care programmes for children who live in favellas (slum dwellings). There are also training and outreach programmes for single mothers and for young girls in need in Brazil, Mexico and Portugal.

An important sector of the Orderís activity is the involvement of young people in its relief work, with special youth groups where children and adolescents are taught first aid and receive social responsibility training (divided by age group). In addition to running kindergartens in South Africa, the German Association has set up special programmes to help adolescents in difficult social circumstances.



In our daily actions, our hospitaller, charitable and humanitarian works constitute the concrete and visible part of the spiritual and personal commitment each knight and dame makes on entering the Order of Malta.

The ceremonies, when members solemnly celebrate together their affirmation of faith and commitment to the Church, are moments with special significance for the members of the Order. On the occasion of the Holy Year, more than 2,000 members and volunteers of the Order participated in an international pilgrimage, October 16- 19, 2000 in Rome, organised by the Grand Magistry to coincide with the celebrations.

Following the magnificent ceremonies, presided over by the Secretary of State, H.E.Cardinal Sodano, H.E.Pio Laghi, Cardinalis Patronus of the Order of Malta and H.E.Cardinal Szoka, President of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican, the Holy Father granted a special audience to the members of the Order and received them in Saint Peterís basilica, led by the Grand Master, Frŗ Andrew Bertie.

The Holy Father and the Cardinals addressed the Orderís knights, dames and volunteers, offering strong encouragement and affirming the Orderís multi-secular mission in contemporary society, at the service of those who suffer.

H.E. Cardinal Edmund SZOKA

President of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican

Address, Pilgrimage of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the Basilica of St. Paulís Outside the Walls

October 18, 2000

EXTRACTS [Ö] We are present in this great basilica consecrated to St. Paul, to mark the feast day of St. Luke, sole companion to St. Paul during his martyrdom in Rome.

As President of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican, whose responsibility it is to provide emergency medical services at all Pontifical functions and events in the basilica of St. Peter and in St. Peterís Square, both throughout this Jubilee Year and every year, I wish to express a personal word of gratitude to the Order for its exceptional service in providing medical assistance here in Rome. During this Jubilee Year, on a daily basis we are providing first aid Ė not only at St. Peterís basilica, but also at the three other main basilicas, including this one. This organisation necessitates the presence of ambulances, doctors, nurses and paramedical personnel.

But we do not have sufficient numbers of medical personnel to provide all of these first aid and emergency medical services.

Since 1975, the knights of the Order of Malta, with their own volunteer corps, have provided emergency medical services on an ongoing basis at St. Peterís and also at the other basilicas, St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran and St.Paulís Outside the Walls. To meet our needs during this Year of Grace, the knights have mobilised 240 doctors, 240 nurses and 600 paramedics from far and wide: from Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland, the UK, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Spain, the United States, Canada, Argentina, South Africa, Lebanon and Cuba, as well as many other countries.

By the end of September, 7,600 people from 145 countries had been helped by these emergency medical services.

I cannot adequately express my gratitude to the knights of Malta for these exceptional voluntary services during our Jubilee Year.

As spokesman for the Vatican, I can but say thank you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. [Ö]

Diplomatic Report 2000 ∑ The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta ∑ Pages 4-5 & 19-20

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