World Day of the Poor: Order of Malta responds to Pope Francis’ appeal with numerous initiatives worldwide
After the appeal of Pope Francis “this poor man cried, and the Lord heard him” the Sovereign Order of Malta invited all its associations and local entities worldwide to spread the Holy Father’s message by participating actively in the second World Day of the Poor, celebrated on 18 November.
“I would like the World Day of the Poor to be adopted by all the Order of Malta’s bodies to convey our commitment to the poor and to testify to our charisma Obsequium Pauperum,” Grand Hospitaller Dominique de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel explained in a letter sent to over 250 of the Order of Malta’s embassies, associations and volunteer/relief corps.
This appeal was answered with numerous initiatives set up at local level, demonstrating that vocation to “share lovingly in the lot of the poor” of which Pope Francis spoke in his message for 18 November. The distribution of meals, medicines and basic necessities was intensified, as were health and social care services and assistance to the disadvantaged, such as the elderly, the disabled and those living in poverty. Initiatives that the Order of Malta, with its 80 thousand volunteers, 13,500 members and 42,000 staff, carries out 365 days a year in 120 countries worldwide. In 2017, the Order distributed over 5 and a half million meals worldwide.
With over 8% of the world’s population living below the poverty line, helping the poor means giving both material support and expressing fraternity and spiritual solidarity. The Order of Malta takes the Holy Father’s message to heart: “The World Day of the Poor wishes to be a small answer that the Church throughout the world gives to the poor of every kind and in every land, lest they think that their cry has gone unheard”.