Rendering service to the victims of disasters and emergencies (wars, epidemics and pestilences) has been in the Heart of the Camillians. From 16th -17th century, those who are joining the Camillians were pretty much aware of its three principal ministries of service to the sick in the a) hospitals, b) homes and c) in times of pestilences or epidemics. In fact, during the 24-year Generalate of St. Camillus 240 Camillian religious died as martyrs in places marred by epidemics and pestilences in Italy.
In 1994, the Order has instituted May 25 as the Feast of the Martyrs of Charity in honor of the 300 Camillian martyrs of charity who died witnessing the 4th vow, i.e., service to the sick even in danger to our own life. The fourth vow is the very linchpin that opens the door to the Camillians and to all those who share in the spirit of St. Camillus to develop and experience its richness in responding to the signs of the times.
In 1995, the 54th General Chapter (in Bucchianico) of the Order has approved the establishment of a task force that would respond to the socio-health emergencies in the different parts of the world. In April 2000, the General Council, headed by Fr. Angelo Brusco, the former general superior has created a Central Commission led by Fr. Antonio Menegon, together with Frs. Pietro Magliozzi, Sergio Palumbo, Scott Francis Binet, Massimo Miraglio and Mr. Renato Bicego, whose main task is to organize and form a special team of lay and religious ready to intervene in any event of disasters which later on they called the Camillian Task Force (CTF).
This initiative has been supported and developed by the Order in the course of time and reaffirmed by the series of general chapters of 2001 and 2007. Re-inventing and re-creating the original vision of Camillus of a Camillian who is conscious of the new challenges and opportunities of the modern times and willing to live in creative fidelity to his prophetic vocation and preferential choice to serve the poorest of the poor, the Camillian Task Force came to its birth. “It is commonly held belief that it is in opting for the most abandoned that the Order fulfills the prophetic role […] by defending the rights of the weak, […] exposing injustices, intervening with task forces, and focusing attention not just on the individual but also on the formation of healthy and healing communities.” (Cf. 55th Gen. Chapter, 2001). Furthermore, “it is our responsibility to work for justice and solidarity in the world of health together, promoting good cooperation between the Provinces, the Delegations and the great Camillian Family of St. Camillus, and also with members of the laity [...] expressed in different ways, such as, supporting the Camillian Task Force in its urgent interventions in situations of natural catastrophe.” (56th General Chapter, 2007).
In 2004, CTF was raised into an office of the General Council headed by Fr. Scott Binet. In 2007, it was integrated into the office of the Secretariat for Mission headed by Bro. Luca Perletti. In 2010, a reorganization and expansion of CTF were called forth. Since then, the CTF expands to the various provinces and delegations of the Order such as the Philippines, Thailand, India, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Kenya and USA. These offices serve as the primary arm in responding to disasters in their respective places or region. The central office assists these offices in developing their capacities through formative activities, developing emergency intervention plan (short/ long-term programs), and seeking funds and grants to sustain local project/s initiated. The CTF central office does not envision to be a super body that manages and operates in all local disaster intervention projects but maintains its character of being an animator and protagonist to humanitarian missions of the Order.