Order of Malta Briefs Pope on Its Aid Work

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 23, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Grand Master of the Order of Malta visited Benedict XVI and gave the Pope an overview of an auxiliary group that focuses on medical and humanitarian aid.

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Fra’ Andrew Bertie was accompanied to the audience today by members of the Sovereign Council who assist him in the governance of the Order of Malta.

During the visit, the Holy Father was presented with the activities, which will begin this Friday, of Malteser International, the order’s auxiliary body for medical and humanitarian aid.

The occasion of the audience was the celebration of the feast day on Friday of the order’s patron, St. John the Baptist. Benedict XVI is also a member of the Order of Malta.

Discussions were held on the «struggle against poverty, marginalization, and the great pandemics in Africa — AIDS, tuberculosis and leprosy — as well as the implementation of hospital works in the African continent,» the Order of Malta said in a statement.

Malteser International is carrying out missions in 35 countries with more than 150 projects.

These projects are carried out by 100 experts in emergency humanitarian aid, together with 900 local agents in areas of crisis, including Kosovo, Afghanistan, Darfur and post-tsunami Southeast Asia.

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