Jubilee Opening: 2,500 Order of Malta volunteers on site
The Grand Master inaugurates the renovated First-Aid Post in St Peter’s Square
There will be almost 2,500 volunteers of the Sovereign Order of Malta active in Rome during the 12 months of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy which will open tomorrow, 8 December. Arriving from Europe and other countries, including Germany, Austria, Ireland, Switzerland, France, Malta, Albania, Belgium, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Cuba and America, the volunteers will provide medical assistance to the thousands of pilgrims expected in Rome during the year. The teams of doctors, nurses and rescuers will be deployed in St Peter’s Square and in the other Roman basilicas: St John Lateran, St Paul Outside the Walls and St Mary Major, as well as in Piazza di Spagna.
For each basilica, the Order of Malta’s volunteers will cover three shifts a day – from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 1 p.m to 7 p.m. There will be a doctor, a nurse and two rescuers for each shift. The operational centre for the volunteers will be the Order of Malta’s First-Aid Post located a few metres from the entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica, which for 35 years has been offering healthcare to pilgrims 365 days a year.
To prepare for the influx of pilgrims over the coming months, the First-Aid Post has been recently renovated and equipped for the task at hand. The Order of Malta’s Grand Master, Fra’ Matthew Festing, inaugurated the new premises, the day before the Holy Door is opened in St Peter’s Basilica, symbolising the start of the Jubilee.
Starting from the first light of dawn tomorrow, the Order of Malta’s Relief Corps – present with its medical teams for the most important Holy Year celebrations – will be operative near St Peter’s Square with an advanced medical post, 5 ambulances and 7 first-aid teams. There will be 10 doctors, 12 nurses, 62 first-aiders, 8 ambulance drivers, 10 logistics managers. The Order of Malta’s Military Corps is also providing 17 doctors and first-aiders.