2012-11-17 Vatican Radio(Vatican Radio) The Hospital, Setting for Evangelisation: a Human and Spiritual Mission – that’s the theme of the 27th international conference organized in the Vatican’s Synod hall by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers November 15-17th. The conference is drawing hundreds of Catholic health care professionals from around the globe.
Speaking at a Vatican press conference earlier this week, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of health Care Workers , Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, described hospitals as “privileged places of evangelization.”
One of the speakers to address the conference is Professor Domenico Arduini, representing the Hospitaller Order of Malta, whose mission has been caring for the sick and the disadvantaged for more than 900 years.
Professor Arduini explains that the Catholic order has 55 hospitals and operates in more than 120 countries today, relying on some 39,000 members and medical employees, but also on a huge network of 80,000 trained volunteers.
Arduini, chief gynaecologist-obstetrician at Rome’s Tor Vergata University, observes “the first thing (we do) is to help the poor and the elderly.”
“In highly developed countries we work with handicapped people” and their families, says Arduini, who illustrates some of the several homes for the severely disabled the order runs in France. The order organizes social activities and offers physical, psychological and material support to families of the disabled “so a family is surrounded not only by the doctors or by technicians or by nurses, but also by the volunteers.”
In these ways, Arduini says the Order is able to evangelize by introducing to the sick and their families Catholic and Christian ideas.
In this interview with Tracey McClure, Professor Arduini illustrates some of the order’s activites around the world, including Africa and the Middle East where their professionals work together with Muslims, Jews and Druze in caring for the poorest of the poor…