The Order of Malta Volunteers in Gozo continued to provide its services in Gozo under the umbrella of The Maltese Association.
Committee and Fundraising
Dr John B Pace and Chris Galea continued to serve as President and Director respectively. Mr Aaron Formosa is Secretary while Ms Manolita Farrugia is Treasurer. Fr Geoffrey G Attard carried on with his work nurturing the spirituality of the volunteers who were also requested to attend the regular retreats organised by The Maltese Association.
The meeting continued to be organised every month at the volunteers’ office in St George’s Square, Victoria. Volunteers also attended First Friday Mass held at St Augustine Church in Victoria, Gozo. The Mass is actually organised by the Diocese of Gozo for professionals and voluntary organisations.
The volunteer corps in Gozo worked hard on the organisation of fundraising activities and another good lunch was organised in December, 2015 at Ta’ Frenc Restaurant. We collected a considerable sum of money during this activity which was also attended by Members and volunteers from Malta, apart from a good turnout from the English Catholic Speaking
Community and the Anglican Community in Gozo.
Another fundraising lunch was also organised in March at Xerri il-Bukkett Restaurant with the help of Dr Ray C Xerri and Manolita Farrugia. Currently we have around Euro 2,300 in our Lombard Bank account.
Ta’ Pinu Shrine Pilgrims Project
On the inauguration of the Year of the Jubilee of Mercy at Ta’ Pinu Shrine, the Gozo corps presented two heavy-duty wheelchairs, a nursing bed and other ancillaries to be used by Our Lords the Sick Pilgrims who visited the shrine. The donation of such equipment to the shrine was greatly appreciated as several pilgrims would otherwise not have been able to make the long walk to visit the miraculous chapel inside the Shrine.
Ta’ Pinu Shrine also allocated a room where the elderly pilgrims could rest. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Gozo volunteers are present to assist the pilgrims.
The Gozo Volunteers also pressed on with the main project of providing a special ambulance service for wheelchair cases on the island. The Order of Malta vehicle which was donated in August 2010 is used regularly for the benefit of the community. Various elderly persons attending hospital sessions, disabled youth at St Martha Disabled Centre in Victoria and residents at Church homes were regular users of this service. Other persons were also provided with the service which permitted them to go to medical facilities to receive treatment. Furthermore elderly persons at Church homes were taken out for excursions on a regular basis. Many persons could be taken out on special feasts and pilgrimages, which they would otherwise have been excluded from.
The Order of Malta transport has also conveyed terminal patients to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu. It should be noted that for the Jubilee of Mercy, we had a significant increase in requests for transportation of Our Lords the Sick to Ta’ Pinu.
On Good Friday, apart from the transports of elderly persons to visit churches, the Order of Malta corps also provided a First Aid post during the Procession organised in Victoria. The first-aiders with the Maltese Cross armbands assisted various chain-bearers and pilgrims who participated in this religious activity.
Visiting the Elderly
One of the main aims of the Order of Malta Volunteers in Gozo is to visit the sick and elderly. A visit was organised every month to a different hospital or home on a rotating basis. Several gifts were also purchased by the volunteers themselves to be distributed to Our Lords the Sick. Special thanks goes to those who provided scarves, small statues and oranges to be given as gifts to the elderly residents.
Relief aid abroad
For the third time, the Order of Malta donated a box with medical supplies for Cuba. The donation was presented to Rev. Paul Buttigieg from Malta who is currently serving in Cuba. The medicines and first aid kits donated will be used at the local hospital in his area.
Tons of clothing and other supplies/items like toys and stationery for schools were also shipped to Accra, Ghana with the collaboration of various Ghanaians residing in Malta. Moreover a large amount of spectacles was also donated to a Maltese mission in Peru while Christmas presents were also sent to a Russian orphanage in Tula led by Dr Oleg Siliyanov.
Currently, the Order of Malta Volunteers in Gozo is supporting the Domenican Nuns’ Mission in Pakistan. This is led by Sister Rachele Agius and it consists of three communities, a school, an orphanage and a clinic. Sister Rachele Agius informed us that she badly needed a considerable amount of medicines and other medical equipment. Currently we are trying to get some more funding for this Pakistan mission and for the Guatemalan mission led by our confrere Dr Stephen Vassallo.
Assisting needy families and refugees
The Gozo volunteers continued providing English Language lessons to various refugees who have settled in Gozo. We also had requests to provide English language lessons to an Egyptian family. Every month the Order of Malta Volunteers in Gozo also distributed food supplies to other families in need including a family of five children whose father died a year before. With the collaboration of The Maltese Association, the Gozo Volunteers also provided food hampers to another 25 deprived families.