On Sunday, 11 April, the Procurator of the Grand Priory of Rome, Amedeo de Franchis, welcomed the Lieutenant of the Grand Master, Fra’ Marco Luzzago, and Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi, the Pope’s Special Delegate to the Sovereign Order of Malta, in the Matteo 25 Community in Rome.
Cardinal Tomasi celebrated holy mass on the Feast of Divine Mercy, established by Saint John Paul II in 1992. Present with the Lieutenant of the Grand Master were the officers of the Grand Priory of Rome, the President of the Association of Italian Knights, the Commander of the Military Corps and many other authorities and volunteers of the Order of Malta’s Italian Delegations and Relief Corps assisting the Matteo 25 Community.
The Matteo 25 Community’s chaplain recalled that the facility has been operating in Rome since World War II. With the help and support of the Grand Priory of Rome, it now runs a soup kitchen for the poor that, before the pandemic, served over 400 meals every feast day. Currently, this service has not been “suspended” but transformed into the distribution of packages containing single-portion hot meals, in compliance with current health regulations.
In his homily, Cardinal Tomasi stressed that “the mercy of God is Our Lord’s greatest gift; it has no limits, is open to all and is the source of every good initiative. Divine mercy also urges us to exercise mercy towards all, especially by helping those in need”. He concluded: “It is the mercy of God that inspired the founders of the Matthew 25 Community and Blessed Gerard, founder of the Hospitaller Order of St John, today the Order of Malta”.
After the liturgy, many of the guests had the chance to talk with Cardinal Tomasi, and then received the usual hot meal.
The Matteo 25 Community welcomes people from 7 a.m. with breakfast, while inside a large building there are eight showers, toilets and a wardrobe from which clean clothes and underwear are distributed. In 2019, over 10,000 meals and 6,000 breakfasts were given over 58 days, with some 2,600 showers taken and almost 4,000 items of new and used clothing distributed. The Matteo 25 Community is also involved in education with a kindergarten.