The Pope invites volunteers from the Sovereign Order of Malta’s First Aid Post to Mass
The Holy Father today expressed the wish to continue to offer healthcare and first aid to the many pilgrims coming to Vatican City from all over the world, as he celebrated a mass for all those assisting the many pilgrims in St Peter’s Square. Thirty volunteers from the Sovereign Order of Malta’s First Aid Post, located a few metres from the entrance to the basilica, participated in the mass that was concelebrated by Monsignor Angelo Acerbi, the Order of Malta’s Prelate.
This was how Pope Francis wanted to thank the doctors, nurses, first-aiders and ambulance drivers who regularly offer their services where needed. To express his heartfelt gratitude the Holy Father wanted to greet each volunteer personally.
The Order of Malta’s First Aid Post is staffed by ninety-two volunteers who have been offering daily assistance to pilgrims for over 35 years. First established during the Holy Year of 1950 in a tent set up under the colonnade in St. Peter’s Square, the Fist Aid Post was granted a permanent structure in the Braccio di Carlo Magno in 1975, a few steps from the entrance to the basilica and close to the Pope Paul VI auditorium where the Papal ‘general audiences’ normally take place every Wednesday.
Open 365 days a year, from 8am till 3pm, or at least until the end of every celebration, the First Aid Post has five beds, which, according to Professor Domenico Arduini, the Medical Centre Coordinator, are “not enough to cope with the considerable increase in pilgrims recorded after Pope Francis’ election”.
Some five hundred medical procedures are carried out by the Order of Malta’s doctors and nurses every year.