Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Order of Malta to Host Mass, Anointing of the Sick

By GIGI MEYERS, Special To The Bulletin | Published January 5, 2012

“Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to you?” This famous verse in the Gospel of Matthew illustrates the responsibility that members of the Order of Malta accept as their duty when making a commitment to join this 900-year-old lay religious order.

Founded in 1113 under the name of St. John of Jerusalem, the mission of the order, the defense of the faith and care of the sick and poor, has remained unchanged over its long history. Today the order has a presence in over 55 countries, and its members include 13,000 Knights and Dames, 80,000 volunteers and 15,000 health care professionals. Members serve in more than 200 hospitals and medical centers and in an emergency relief and ambulance corps that provides aid to at least 7 million people in 120 countries.

The Atlanta-based group of the Order of Malta, Federal Association, began in 1995 and now has over 50 members. Archbishop Wilton Gregory serves as the conventual chaplain and Msgr. Edward Dillon, pastor of Holy Spirit Church, Atlanta, as the magistral chaplain.

As a special project, the order will sponsor a Mass for the Anointing of the Sick at Holy Spirit Church in Atlanta on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Saturday, Feb. 11, at 11 a.m. Msgr. Dillon will serve as principal celebrant and will be joined by other members of the clergy. Members of the order will be available at the Mass to assist anyone in need, and handicap access will be provided. Everyone is invited to attend this Mass, which the order sponsored for the first time in 2011. Members of the order look forward to serving those in the archdiocese who are most in need of their prayers and assistance.

In Atlanta, the order has focused much of its volunteer effort on working on a variety of projects in support of the Solidarity School, a private Catholic preschool operated as a part of a larger outreach to the Latino community.