There are over a thousand Order of Malta volunteers who, from 7 December 2015 – the launch of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy -– up to the end of August 2016, have been offering assistance to pilgrims arriving in Rome in the first-aid posts located in the three Roman basilicas – St. John Lateran, St. Paul Outside-the-Walls and St. Mary Major – as well as in St. Peter’s Square. Over 1300 medical interventions have been carried out in this latter structure, run by the Order of Malta in the Braccio di Carlo Magno building a few metres from the basilica entrance. Thirty-two volunteers are deployed daily here, together with 83 volunteer doctors, nurses and paramedics, offering their services seven days a week.
It is precisely in this facility – which has been offering free medical assistance to pilgrims since 1950 and which has been renovated and made even more functional for the Extraordinary Jubilee – that the greatest number of interventions have been recorded, with a peak in the months of June and April.
Overall, the pilgrims assisted in the four first-aid posts during these first nine months of the Jubilee have come from 69 different countries on all continents: some 1100 from Europe, 169 from the Americas, 37 from Asia, 15 from Oceania and 12 from Africa. Over 62% came from Italy. The average age of those treated was 48, mostly involving cardiovascular pathologies, osteoarticular traumas and skin lesions.
The Order of Malta’s volunteers working here come instead from the associations of 13 different nations including some outside Europe, such as Hong Kong and the Americas.
The Order of Malta’s commitment will continue until the closure of the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica on 20 November next, marking the end of the Jubilee of Mercy. Another thousand volunteers will be joining those already present during the first nine months of the Jubilee.