The 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and the Republic of Peru was celebrated in Rome. In the presence of the Lieutenant of the Grand Master, Fra’ John Dunlap and the Grand Chancellor, Riccardo Paternò di Montecupo, a thanksgiving mass was held on 26 April in the Church of St Mary on the Aventine. For the Republic of Peru, Ambassador to the Order of Malta Jorge Eduardo Roman Morey and to the Italian Republic Eduardo Martinetti Macedo were present.
The mass was officiated by Monsignor Robert Francis Prevost, Prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops and President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Archbishop Emeritus of Chiclayo in Peru, and concelebrated by Monsignor Jean Laffitte, Prelate of the Order of Malta.
The “fruitful relations” between the Order of Malta and Peru and “the great appreciation for the humanitarian works performed with commendable dedication by the Order of Malta for the benefit of the most vulnerable groups” were stressed in the message sent for the occasion by the Peruvian Foreign Minister, Ana Cecilia Gervasi Díaz, and read by Ambassador Morey at the end of the mass.
In his speech, the Grand Chancellor recalled that “positive relations” with Peru have always been “based on shared values of solidarity and equality,” and have grown over the years “as witnessed by the visits to Lima of two Grand Masters, Fra’ Andrew Bertie and Fra’ Matthew Festing.” Riccardo Paternò di Montecupo then expressed the hope that a new cooperation agreement will soon be concluded that will further expand the Order of Malta’s humanitarian initiatives in the South American country.
The ceremony was attended by ambassadors and diplomatic representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay and Mexico. Also present was Fabrizio Vinaccia, the Order of Malta’s ambassador to the Republic of Peru.
The Order of Malta’s association in Peru was founded in the early 1950s. Since then it has carried out numerous health and humanitarian projects including aid for reconstruction after the earthquake of 2007. In recent years, the association has cooperated with the Ministry of Defence on a civil protection project in the event of natural disasters and for managing migration flows from Venezuela. During the Covid-19 pandemic, volunteers from the Order of Malta’s relief corps in Peru were involved in delivering of non-perishable food and hygiene kits. There are many activities in the healthcare sector, providing hospital equipment, and support for scholastic activities for children in need, and recently it has helped during the serious flooding that affected the north of the country.