After the pandemic shutdown, the Order of Malta’s National Day returns on Saturday 15 October. It will offer an overview of the daily activities of volunteers assisting people and families in need, as well as illustrating the various projects and initiatives the Sovereign Order of Malta has developed, in Italy for the most vulnerable people and groups and internationally in crisis areas such as Ukraine. It will also be possible to take free blood-pressure and blood-sugar tests, to learn how to use the defibrillator and to perform resuscitation on a dummy.
From 9 am to 7 pm, gazebos and stands will be set up in 31 Italian cities (from Rome to Milan, but also Brescia, Catania, Catanzaro, Civitanova Marche, Civitavecchia, Florence, Frosinone, Gaeta, Genoa, Latina, Livorno, Loreto, Lucca, Naples, Nuoro, Padua, Palermo, Pavia, Perugia, Pisa, Ravenna, Reggio Emilia Roma, Turin, Treviso, Varese, Venice, Verona and Viterbo).
The Order of Malta’s Grand Chancellor Riccardo Paternò di Montecupo will personally visit the gazebo in Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina, Rome, to thank the many volunteers participating in the National Day. “This is a young initiative, launched in 2018, but of great value. First of all, it illustrates the Order of Malta’s thousand-year mission with its unique institutional characteristics as a religious order unique in the world. Not only, it also inspires many young people to volunteer. In Italy, volunteering accounts for 12.6% of the population, an indication of the Italians’ willingness to put themselves at the service of others,” said Riccardo Paternò di Montecupo.
In Italy, the Order of Malta acts through its three Grand Priories and Delegations to help the needy with soup kitchens, meals-on-wheels and distribution of clothes, as well as various assistance, spiritual and psychological support initiatives. ACISMOM (Association of Italian Knights of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta) is involved in healthcare with a hospital in Rome and 14 clinics nationwide. The Military Corps is dedicated to health and humanitarian assistance, with military health services in Italy and peacekeeping missions abroad. The Order of Malta’s Italian Relief Corps – CISOM provides first-aid, social and emergency services and intervenes in natural disasters working in close collaboration with the Italian Civil Protection; it also offers first-aid to migrants, thanks to important agreements with various civil and military entities, including the Coast Guard and Port Authorities.
Many initiatives have been launched to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. The Order’s volunteers have assisted the most vulnerable groups, people in quarantine, the elderly and disabled in need of medicines and food, as well as actively participating in the vaccination campaign in the Italian hubs.
The volunteers are also focusing their energies on the emergency in Ukraine. Volunteers in Italy collaborate in the reception and assistance of refugees present in almost all regions and in the collection of basic necessities to be sent, through the Order’s international network, directly to the countries most involved in the refugee emergency.
Medical and social activities are supported by the Order of Malta’s diplomatic network that maintains diplomatic relations with Italy,
with the Holy See and with another 110 states.
The Order of Malta’s structures – which globally have 95,000 volunteers, 52,000 employees and 13,500 members – operate in 120 countries, intervening to support populations fleeing natural disasters, wars, persecution, poverty and to assist people in need. Some five and a half million meals are distributed every year worldwide in the soup kitchens and facilities the Order supports, there are 15 hospitals run worldwide and several hundred medical and social centres as well as 150 facilities for the elderly in Europe alone.
The Order of Malta’s government has been based in Rome since 1834.