Europe’s feudal system in the middle ages demanded absolute loyalty and zealous service to one’s lord.  The Order’s founder, Blessed Gerard, applied this principle to the Order's members, who came exclusively from the noble families of Europe.  Every member, himself a lord in the secular world, upon becoming invested in the Order took an oath to serve the poor and the sick as his lord.  Throughout the centuries, invested members of the Order have taken the same oath.  They continue to do so today.  

As explained in more detail below, the Western Association supports two free medical clinics that are independent non-profit organizations, operates several parish nurse programs, and provides financial and hands-on support to dozens of non-profit organizations.  In 2009, the Western Association's approximately 750 invested members and scores of Auxiliary members devoted roughly 89,000 hours of hands-on volunteer work to Western Association-supported projects. 

The Western Association's Hospitaller, Ralph Linzmeier, who chairs the Western Association's Hospitaller Committee, is responsible for coordinating the Western Association's humanitarian efforts.  He is assisted by nine Location Hospitallers who facilitate volunteer efforts in different geographic areas of the Western Assocation.  The Location Hospitallers are Richard Grant for Los Angeles, Todd Ganos for Monterey, Catherine Greerty for Oakland, Rand Sperry for Orange, Jack O'Brien for Phoenix, Sue Murchison for Sacramento, Art Carmichael for San Jose, Jeff Scales for San Francisco, and Tom Matthews for Seattle.   Each Western Association-sponsored or assisted project has a coordinator responsible for volunteer activities through that project.

Since its formation in the middle part of the eleventh century, the Order has provided medical and humanitarian services to those in need.  Between the eleventh through eighteenth centuries, the Order’s hospitals, first in Jerusalem and later on the islands of Rhodes and Malta, were responsible for significant developments in the field of health care.  Today, the Order continues its commitment to providing medical assistance to those in need in different parts of the world, including Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem and CRUDEM Hospital in Haiti.  In the Western Association, the Order operates two free medical clinics, one in the MacArthur Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, the other within the Christ the Light Cathedral complex in Oakland, California.    

 

The Western Association operates Parish Nurse Programs through which a registered nurse and member of the Order visit the elderly homebound in various parishes in Los Angeles, Orange County, Phoenix and San Francisco.  

The Western Association also provides financial and volunteer support to over 50 organizations serving the poor and the sick in the western United States.  The Western Association's projects include preparing and serving meals to the homeless, providing shelters and transitional housing to the homeless, assisting expectant mothers during their pregnancies, assisting mothers and their newborns, caring for the elderly, caring for those infected with HIV/AIDS, removing gang-related tattoos, providing counseling, therapy and training for troubled youths, and many others. 

For general information about volunteer opportunities in Western Association-supported projects in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which includes Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, CA, contact the Los Angeles Location Hospitaller, Richard Grant.   For details on current projects in the greater Los Angeles area, please click "read more."

For general information about volunteer opportunities in Western Association-supported projects in Monterey, CA, contact Todd Ganos.  For details on current Monterey projects, please click "read more."

For general information about volunteer opportunieis in Western Association-supported projects in Marin County, contact the San Francisco Location Hospitaller, Jeff Scales.  For details on the Western Association's current project in Marin County, please click "read more."

For general information about volunteer opportunities in Western Association-supported projects in Oakland, CA, contact the Oakland Location Hospitaller, Catherine Greerty.  For details on current Oakland projects, please click "read more."

For general information about volunteer opportunities in Western Association-supported projects in Orange County, CA, contact the Orange County Location Hospitaller, Rand Sperry.  For details on current Orange County projects, please click "read more."

For general information about volunteer opportunities in Western Association-supported projects in Maricopa County, AZ, contact the Phoenix Location Hospitaller, Tom Longust.  For details on current projects in the Phoenix area, click "read more."

The Western Association has recently established an Auxiliary in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.  Invested and Auxiliary members volunteer four days a year at St. Felix Pantry, a small food and clothing distribution center that serves the needy from Rio Rancho and Albuquerque.  Located on Barbara Loop in Rio Rancho, the Pantry is open six days a week.  Please contact Pat Ortiz for more information on volunteering to serve at the Pantry.

For general information about volunteer opportunities in Western Association-supported projects in Sacramento, CA, contact the Sacramento Location Hospitaller, Sue Murchison.  For details on current Sacramento projects, click "read more."

For general information about volunteer opportunities in Western Association-supported projects in Seattle, WA, contact the Seattle Location Hospitaller, Tom Matthews.  For details on current Seattle projects, please click "read more."

For general information about volunteer opportunities for Western Association-supported projects in San Jose, CA, contact the San Jose Location Hospitaller, Art Carmichael.   For details on current San Jose projects, click "read more."

For general information about volunteer activities for Western Association-supported projects in San Mateo County, CA, contact the San Francisco Location Hospitaller, Jeff Scales.  For details on current San Mateo County projects, please click on "read more."

For general information about volunteer opportunities in Western Association-supported projects in San Francisco, CA, contact the San Francisco Location Hospitaller, Jeff Scales.  For details on current San Francisco projects, click "read more."

For general information about volunteer opportunities in the Western Association-supported project in Ventura County, contact Glen Mueller or the Los Angeles Hospitaller, Richard Grant.  For details on this project, please click "read more."

The Western Association currently provides financial and hands-on support to the following project in Watsonville, CA:

Pajaro Valley Shelter, located on Brennan Street, provides emergency housing and support services to homeless women, children and families.  Invested and Auxiliary members regularly gather, sort and distribute food to those using the shelter.  Please contact Todd Ganos for additional information.