Malteser Hilfsdienst celebrates fifty years of service
Malteser Hilfsdienst, the Emergency Corps of the German Association of the Order of Malta, celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, in September in Germany and in October in Rome. The Malteser Hilfsdienst, known as the MHD, works with the sick across the Federal Republic of Germany, as well as with humanitarian projects in many countries across the globe.
Of the many events organised as part of the celebration, perhaps the most important to the participants is a pilgrimage to Rome, scheduled for 21-25 October, when they will have a special audience in the Vatican with Pope John Paul II. Over a thousand members of the MHD will be there, including 250 disabled. Also programmed is a meeting with Fra’ Andrew Bertie, the Grand Master, as well as ceremonies of celebration in the Basilicas of Santa Sabina and Santa Maria in Trastevere and in San Giovanni in Laterano.
To commemorate the 50 years of activities of the MHD, a full calendar of encounters took place in Germany the week of the 25th thru the 28th of September with the presence of the Grand Master of the Order, fra’ Andrew Bertie, who thanked all the men and women working in the Malteser Hilfsdienst, expressing his great admiration and appreciation for their commitment to helping the sick over fifty years.
The September celebrations in Cologne were attended by Fra’ Andrew, who expressed the gratitude of the entire Order for the work and dedication of the members of the MHD. Fra Andrew also met with the President of the Federal Republic, Johannes Rau, who also acknowledged his appreciation of the work of the MHD. ‘The Malteser Hilfsdienst is irreplaceable,’ he said, sentiments echoed by the Mayor of Cologne, Fritz Schramma, who affirmed that the MHD’s services to the region had provided ‘active support without which it would not be possible to ensure social structure and aid services to the municipality.’
The Grand Master also with met the Herrenmeister and the Government of the Johanniterorden in Berlin, confirming the continuance of the friendship between the two Orders.
The fifty years of the Malteser Hilfsdienst have also been commemorated by a series of stamps issued by the Order in May. They represent a range of the operations carried out by the MHD Emergency Corps.