Order of Malta Volunteers in Gozo Report 2016-17
The Order of Malta Volunteers in Gozo continued to provide its services in Gozo under the umbrella of MASMOM.
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 MASMOM.
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, 2016 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.
Ta’ Pinu Shrine Pilgrims Project
The OMVG continued with the Pilgrims Service at Ta’ Pinu Shrine. Our assistance to sick and disabled who visited 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.
Wheelchair Transport Service
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.
It should be mentioned that the Order of Malta in Gozo badly needs another small wheelchair-transport car which would be able to convey sick persons more efficiently. The wheelchair minibus we currently also use, is too big to be driven by the other Gozo volunteers and it should be mentioned that sometimes the Order of Malta is not able to cope with requests.
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 armbends 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 fourth 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..
Assisting needy families and refugees
Every month the OMVG also distributed food supplies to other families in need including a family of five children whose father died two years before. The OMVG also thanks the Anglican Community in Gozo for donating food supplies on a regular basis. With the collaboration of MASMOM, the Gozo Volunteers also provided food hampers to another 25 deprived families.