Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Sovereign Order of Malta deliver humanitarian aid in Gaza

His Beatitude, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem entered today Gaza and reached the parish of the Holy Family for a pastoral visit. Together with His Beatitude was Fra’ Alessandro de Franciscis, Grand Hospitaller of the Sovereign Order of Malta. Accompanying the small delegation was also Fr. Gabriele Romanelli, parish priest of Gaza. They met the suffering population to encourage them and to deliver a message of hope, solidarity, and support. Cardinal Pizzaballa presided over the mass in the parish church with the local community and visited the St. Porphyrius Orthodox church and met with Bishop Alexios and his community.

The visit is also the first stage of a joint humanitarian mission of the Latin Patriarchate and the Sovereign Order of Malta, aiming at the delivery of life-saving food and medical help to the population in Gaza.

A Memorandum of Understanding establishing the joint mission was signed between the Parties on May 14th and will be carried out by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Sovereign Order of Malta and its worldwide relief agency, Malteser International and other partners.

The Order of Malta’s long-time presence in the Holy Land

The Order of Malta has a rooted presence in the Holy Land. Founded in Jerusalem in the 11th century with a mission of care for pilgrims of any faith and origin, religion ethnicity, gender of political belief.  The motto “Tuitio Fidei, Obsequium Pauperum” or “Witness to the faith and assistance to the poor” has guided its work for over nine centuries. Today, the Order is present in 120 countries worldwide and remains apolitical, neutral, and impartial.

The Order of Malta continues to serve the Holy Land and operates a maternity hospital in Bethlehem where over 4,500 babies are born each year. It is the only hospital in the region equipped with an intensive neonatology ward which treats premature babies or those born with serious genetic disorders. The hospital has seen over 100,000 babies born since 1990, some born at less than 32 weeks’ gestation. The Holy Family Hospital serves a catchment area of one million people and is an important reference hospital for women and children’s health in the region. The staff is made up of both Christian and Muslim doctors and nurses.

The Order of Malta’s presence in the Holy Land is further demonstrated by the extensive assistance projects carried out in Lebanon. Over 10 medical clinics are in operation, providing relief to the neediest in different areas of the country. Many of the projects are carried out in close collaboration with the Sunni, Shia, and Druze communities. The Order of Malta also has a special expertise in in providing aid and relief to refugees and internally displaced people in war-torn areas, including Ukraine, where it is actively present in over 70 cities proving humanitarian aid and psycho-social support.

Copyright: lpj.org

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