Sovereign Order of Malta is committed for long haul in ‘Yolanda’-ravaged Visayas
Our spiritual pilgrimage organized by Adam’s Travel to the canonization of St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII at St. Peter’s Square last April 27 also brought us to the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Assisi.
Bishop Sofronio Bastes, our chaplain, and I were able to meet Bro. Joseph Vicario, native of Calbayog City, who has been living in Assisi for 21 years as sacristan, gardener and cook.
Fr. Dominic Lim, OFM Conventual and former rector of the St. Maximilian Kolbe Seminary in Multinational Village, told me about him.
Since we watched the movie “Claire and Francis” inside the bus the day before on our way there, we more or less understood what drew Bro. Joseph Vicario to the life of a Franciscan brother. He described his calling one day in the 1980s while studying at the Christ the King College in Calbayog.
“Like thunder… I felt the extraordinary presence of Jesus in my life.”
On March 20, 1986, Brother Joseph entered the Franciscan seminary in Novaliches and went on to profess as a Franciscan Conventual brother.
We, 28 pilgrims with Amor Completo as our tour escort, gathered at the Chapel of Peace in the basement of the Basilica where Bishop Bastes and Fr. Vic Robles concelebrated the Holy Mass.
We asked St. Francis and St. Claire to intercede for our needs, especially healing.
Malta builds 700 homes
Six months after Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, with its humanitarian assistance relief arm, Malteser International, is still present in Basey, Samar and Bantayan Island, Northern Cebu.
With a 3-million euro grant, the Order of Malta is building 700 detached homes in San Antonio and Amendeyahan, Basey, Samar, and in Bantayan Island.
The Order is also undertaking livelihood projects as well as helping in provisions for water, sanitation, hygiene, medicine and food. It is also giving victims hygiene kits, school bags, ponchos, 40 large-capacity tents, jerry cans.
Ambassador Odelia G. Arroyo of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta to the Philippines, and Dr. Leopoldo Lazatin, knight of Magistral Grace of the Order of Malta, attended the Rhodes International Conference in Greece last February.
The meeting tried to define the role of the Order of Malta in the world in the next five years. With a membership of 12,500 from 120 countries, the Order of Malta is the only medieval organization in existence, having celebrated its 900th year in 2013.
The lay religious order has diplomatic relations with 104 countries, including a permanent observer mission in the United Nations in New York, Vienna and Geneva and other UN agencies, and has delegations or representations to international organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, DC and Council of Europe in Strasbourg, among others.
Its humanitarian assistance arm, Malteser International, is active in some 25 countries throughout Africa, Asia and the Americas, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Haiti, Chile, the Philippines and wherever there is disaster or war.
Malteser International will be in the Visayas not only for immediate response but for the region’s rehabilitation.
In Aceh, Indonesia, after the tsunami in 2004, Malta stayed there for five years until the devastated communities had decent homes, livelihood, education and the basic necessities of water and electricity.
The Order of Malta with Malteser International will likewise remain in Samar and Bantayan for the long haul of rehabilitation.
Traditional Latin Masses will be held in the following churches: every Saturday at Christ the King Parish in Greenmeadows, Quezon City; every Sunday at Chapelle des Roses, Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Newport Road, Villamor Air Base (across Naia 3), Pasay City; and every last Saturday of the month at St. James the Great Parish, Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
Fr. Dominic Ma. Lim, OFM Conv., will be back home for a short visit from Canada where he visited his mother.
But he will depart on May 19 for Naples, Italy, where he assumes a four-year assignment at the OFM Conventuals Province of Our Seraphic Father St. Francis.
He will celebrate Mass on Sunday, May 18, 9 a.m., at St. Therese. He will also possibly say Mass at Christ the King Parish on May 17, at 8:30 a.m.
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