|Born||12 February 1880|
Valletta, Crown Colony of Malta
|Died||26 July 1962 82) (aged|
Santa Venera, Crown Colony of Malta
|Venerated in||Catholic Church|
|Beatified||9 May 2001, Floriana, Malta by Pope John Paul II|
|Canonized||3 June 2007, Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City by Pope Benedict XVI|
George Preca (in Maltese : Ġorġ Preca) (12 February 1880 – 26 July 1962) was a Maltese Catholic priest and the founder of the Society of Christian Doctrine as well as a Third Order Carmelite. He is known as "Dun Ġorġ" in Maltese and Pope John Paul II dubbed him "Malta’s second father in faith". He assumed the religious name of "Franco" after becoming a Secular Carmelite. He was a popular figure among some groups, and his pastoral care and religious teaching earned recognition. However, his activities raised suspicions of heresy from senior clergy. He was ordered to close down his teaching centres for a time while they could be investigated; they were subsequently re-opened.
Maltese is the national language of Malta and a co-official language of the country alongside English, while also serving as an official language of the European Union, the only Semitic language so distinguished. Maltese is descended from Siculo-Arabic, the extinct variety of Arabic that developed in Sicily and was later introduced to Malta, between the end of the ninth century and the end of the twelfth century.
The Maltese are a nation and an ethnic group native to Malta who speak the Maltese language. Malta is an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Included within the ethnic group defined by the Maltese people are the Gozitans who inhabit Malta's sister island, Gozo.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.
His activism earned him praise and in 1952, Pope Pius XII nominated him as a Papal Secret Chamberlain and awarded the rank of Monsignor.
Pope Pius XII, born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli, was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 2 March 1939 to his death. Before his election to the papacy, he served as secretary of the Department of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, papal nuncio to Germany, and Cardinal Secretary of State, in which capacity he worked to conclude treaties with European and Latin American nations, most notably the Reichskonkordat with Nazi Germany.
Monsignor is an honorific form of address for some members of the clergy, usually of the Roman Catholic Church, including bishops, honorary prelates and canons. "Monsignor" is a form of address, not an appointment: properly speaking, one cannot be "made a monsignor" or be "the monsignor of a parish". The title or form of address is associated with certain papal awards, which Pope Paul VI reduced to three classes: those of Protonotary Apostolic, Honorary Prelate, and Chaplain of His Holiness.
In 1957 he composed five new mysteries for the Rosary for his followers which he had referred to as the "Mysteries of Light". He was canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church in 2007.
The Holy Rosary, also known as the Dominican Rosary, refers to a form of prayer psalter used in the Catholic Church and to the string of knots or beads used to count the component prayers. When used for the prayer, the word is usually capitalized, as is customary for other names of prayers, such as "the Lord's Prayer", and "the Hail Mary"; when referring to the beads, it is written with a lower-case initial letter.
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares that a person who has died was a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the list of recognized saints, called the "canon". Originally, a person was recognized as a saint without any formal process. Later, different processes were developed, such as those used today in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion.
George Preca was born in Valletta on 12 February 1880as the seventh of nine children of Vincent and Nathalie Ceravolo Preca. His father was both a merchant and a health inspector. He received his baptism on 17 February 1880 in the Church of Our Lady of Porto Salvo. Preca was a frail child due to a range of illnesses he had and in 1885 almost drowned in the harbor though boatmen rescued him.
Baptism is a Christian rite of admission and adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. The synoptic gospels recount that John the Baptist baptised Jesus. Baptism is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others. Baptism is also called christening, although some reserve the word "christening" for the baptism of infants. It has also given its name to the Baptist churches and denominations.
The Basilica of St Dominic or also known as the Basilica of Our Lady of Safe Haven and St Dominic is one of the three parish churches of Valletta, Malta. It is administered by the Dominican Order whose convent is located behind the church.
In 1886, the family relocated to Ħamrun. He received both his First Communion at some stage in his childhood and then his Confirmation on 2 August 1888 in the parish church of Saint Cajetan from Bishop Anton Maria Buhagiar[ citation needed ].
First Communion is a ceremony in some Christian traditions during which a person first receives the Eucharist. It is most common in the Latin Church tradition of the Catholic Church, as well as in many parts of the Lutheran Church and Anglican Communion. In churches that celebrate First Communion, it typically occurs between the ages of seven and thirteen, often acting as a rite of passage.
In 1897, while walking along the Maglio Gardens in Floriana, Preca met one of his professors, Father Ercole Mompalao, who encouraged his religious vocation. Preca first studied at the state-owned school on the island before he commenced his studies for the priesthood; he had studied Latin and English but also studied Italian and received a prize in handwriting.Shortly before his ordination, Preca was diagnosed with acute pulmonary tuberculosis and given a poor prognosis. He attributed his recovery to the intercession of Saint Joseph, patron of the dying, however the illness left him with a damaged left lung.
Floriana, also known by its title Borgo Vilhena, is a fortified town in the South Eastern Region area of Malta, just outside the capital city Valletta. It has a population of 2,205 as of March 2014. Floriana is the birthplace of many famous Maltese, amongst which the composer of the national anthem, 'L-Innu Malti', Robert Samut; former Bishop of Malta Dun Mauro Caruana, the poets Oliver Friggieri & Maria Grech Ganado, the writer and politician Herbert Ganado and Swedish Idol winner Kevin Borg.
Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.
English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.
On 8 April 1905 his confessor Aloysius Galea died and Preca would often recount that not long after Galea seemingly appeared to him and encouraged his call to the priesthood. In his studies he began to write a rule in Latin for use in a planned religious movement for permanent deacons that he wished to establish but this desire subsided over time though the idea remained much on Preca's mind but he altered the idea after being ordained. Preca received his ordination to the priesthood alongside thirteen others on 22 December 1906 from Bishop Pietro Pace and he celebrated his first Mass on 25 December - Christmas - at the Saint Cajetan parish church in Ħamrun.He was appointed assistant priest at St. Gaetano, and immediately devoted himself to teaching the youth.
He began to teach the Catholic catechism along the waterfront to people, including labourers, and began to gather male catechists including Ewgenju Borg around him.In February 1907 he arranged a spiritual conference at the Ta' Nuzzo church; later meetings were held at 6 Fra Diegu Street. This led to the founding of a new religious movement on 7 March 1907 at Ħamrun at the first meeting of the Society of Christian Doctrine (known locally as M.U.S.E.U.M.).
Senior clergy began to suspect that the rapid growth and popularity of Preca's movement could have heretical implications, especially as it involved so many of the low skilled and uneducated. The Vicar General, Mgr Salvatore Grech, issued an order in 1909 that all the "MUSEUM centres" should be closed. A protest by other parish priests led to the order being rescinded. Nevertheless, the new society continued to receive a lot of criticism in the press, and in 1916, Bishop Maurus Caruana opened a formal enquiry. This cleared the movement of any negative behaviours and paved the way in due course for ecclesiastical recognition of the Society of Christian Doctrine on 12 April 1932.
It was at the height of the crisis that Preca claimed to have received a powerful religious experience in 1910 one morning as he passed the Marsa Cross - triggered by a child aged twelve pushing a cart with a bag of manure who had shouted: "Lend me a hand!". Preca helped him and as he placed his hands on the cart he felt profound spiritual calmness and understood that he had experienced a revelation as the boy symbolized Christ and the wagon, the work of evangelizing.
Preca became a Third Order Carmelite after being admitted on 21 July 1918 and having made his profession on 26 September 1919 with the new religious name of "Franco". In the parishes, Preca established Nativity plays at Christmas time; a custom maintained to this day in almost all the parishes of Malta.
In the 1950s Fr Preca himself sent six members of the Society to Australia to serve the Maltese who had emigrated to Melbourne.As of 2016, there were 1,200 members serving in six countries.
Despite the contested use of either Italian or English, Preca taught and wrote in Maltese, the language of the common people, so that everyone could understand. He wrote about 150 booklets, pamphlets and leaflets.To publish and spread his works, he obtained a printing press and founded in the 1920’s what would become “Veritas Press”, one of the main Catholic publishing companies in Malta.
Throughout his pastoral mission he was a popular preacher and sought-after confessor.Preca was named as a Monsignor after Pope Pius XII - on 2 October 1952 - named him a Privy Chamberlain much to his mortification and he held this title until the pope died in 1958. He never wore the vestments that the title entailed, nor did he ever claim the official document from the archbishop's office.
Preca died in the evening of 26 July 1962. His funeral on 28 July was one of the largest funerals ever held in Malta and Bishop Emanuel Galea presided over it at the Saint Cajetan church.
In 1957 Preca wrote five mysteries which he called the "Mysteries of Light" which he said had been inspired by John 8:12: "The light of the world".
The cause towards canonization by the Catholic Church formally opened on 13 March 1975 under Pope Paul VI when Preca was given the title "Servant of God" after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued its official "nihil obstat". Mikiel Gonzi (the Archbishop of Malta) subsequently issued the decree on 24 June 1975 that would pave the path for a full diocesan investigation to begin. The process opening in Malta on 25 February 1976 and continued for over a decade until its solemn closure on 23 June 1988 under Joseph Mercieca. The Congregation validated the process in Rome on 19 June 1992 and the postulator later submitted the Positio for assessment in 1998. A congress of six theologians first approved the cause on 16 March 1999 while the members of the Congregation likewise voted in approval of the cause on 1 June 1999. The confirmation of Preca's model life of "heroic virtue" on 28 June 1999 allowed for Pope John Paul II to grant the title of Venerable
However, for Preca to be beatified a miracle had to be obtained as a result of his intercession - or at least a healing that conventional science could not easily explain. One such miracle was investigated and it received validation from the Congregation on 21 November 1997 before a board of seven medical appointees approved it on 10 June 1999 as did six theologians on 22 October 1999 and then the Congregation on 11 January 2000. The Pope expressed his view on 27 January 2000 that this healing was indeed a miracle and beatified Preca on 9 May 2001 while on a visit to Malta, and referred to him on that visit as the "Second Apostle of Malta" (Saint Paul being the first).The attributed miracle was a healing said to have occurred in February 1964 concerning Charles Zammit Endrich who suffered from a detached retina in his left eye. He was allegedly healed after Endrich placed one of Preca's personal belongings under his pillow. His personal doctor Ċensu Tabone (later the President of Malta) was present.
For Preca to become a saint then another miracle was required. A suitable candidate was found in the alleged healing of an infant, Eric Catania (b. 2002), who suffered from mironodular infantile cirrhosis with acute liver decompensation in addition to ascites and cholestasis and hypocoagulation.The baby was transferred to King's College Hospital, the world's largest and most expert paediatric liver centre. The planned treatment would have been a liver transplant, but doctors were concerned of the risk of organ rejection. The baby's parents were said to have put a glove used during Preca's exhumation on the infant and he seemingly recovered to the point the doctors said an operation was not needed at all. The report Congregation validation on 17 December 2004 in Rome and then the approval of the Vatican medical board on 23 February 2006. The theologians approved this as well on 30 October 2006 as did the Congregation on 9 January 2007. Pope Benedict XVI approved the "miracle" on 22 February 2007 as being a result of Preca's direct intercession, and Preca was canonized on 3 June 2007 in Saint Peter's Square after having formalized the date for the celebration at a consistory on 23 February 2007 at 11:00am. The canonization cemented Preca as the second Maltese saint (Saint Publius being the first) and in his remarks the pope called Preca "a friend of Jesus".
A statue of Preca was unveiled at the church of Saint Cajetan parish in Ħamrun, Malta, during a solemn Mass that Archbishop Paul Cremona presided over on 17 December 2009.[ citation needed ] A statue was placed on the same spot where Preca used to take confessions. Beside the statue there is also his relic with a sample of his blood. The bronze statue is the work of sculptor Gianni Bonnici and was made in Caggiati in Parma.[ citation needed ]
A portrait bust commemorates Preca outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in East Melbourne, Australia.
A saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God. However, the use of the term "saint" depends on the context and denomination. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Oriental Orthodox, and Lutheran doctrine, all of their faithful deceased in Heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered worthy of greater honor or emulation; official ecclesiastical recognition, and consequently veneration, is given to some saints through the process of canonization in the Catholic Church or glorification in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
The Society of Christian Doctrine, better known as M.U.S.E.U.M., is a society of Catholic lay volunteers, made of men and women, teaching catechism in the Christian faith formation of children and adults. The society was established by George Preca in March 1907, in Malta. It has eventually spread around the world, first among Maltese migrants in Australia, then in Albania, in North Sudan and other countries.
Gaetano dei Conti di Thiene, known as Saint Cajetan, was an Italian Catholic priest and religious reformer, co-founder of the Theatines. He is recognised as a saint in the Catholic Church, and his feast day is 7 August.
Qormi, also known by its title Città Pinto, is a city in the Southern Region of Malta, located southwest of Valletta in the centre of the island. It has a population of 16,324, which makes it the fifth largest locality in Malta.
Hamrun is a town in the Southern Region of Malta, with a population of 9,244 as of March 2014.
Saint Gaetano Catanoso was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and the founder of the Suore Veroniche del Santo Volto (1934). Catanoso served as a parish priest in two different parishes for his entire ecclesial life and was an ardent devotee to the Face of Jesus which he promoted to the faithful. He also founded the Poor Clerics to encourage vocations to the priesthood while forming the Confraternita del Santo Volto (1920) to spread devotion to the Face of Jesus. He dedicated his pastoral career to bringing the Gospel message to all people and hiked or rode on a mule to reach distant and surrounding mountain villages in order to evangelize to people.
In the small Mediterranean island nation of Malta the predominant religion is Roman Catholicism.
Christmas Eve Procession is one of the main characteristic manifestations of the Maltese Christmas celebrations. It origins is from over 86 years ago by St. George Preca (1880-1962). He had no pretensions of instituting something on a large scale. His only intention was to instill a truly Christian spirit in commemorating the birth of Christ.
Saint Gaetano Errico was an Italian Roman Catholic priest from Naples and the founder of the Missionari dei Sacri Cuori di Gesù e Maria. Errico was born to devout and hardworking parents whose income was modest but sufficient for him to do his ecclesial studies in Naples. It was common for him to be seen twice a week tending to the ill despite his studies and he also helped his father on occasion at his warehouse. He became a teacher after his ordination and later a parish priest.
Saint Luigi Guanella was an Italian Roman Catholic priest Fr. Guanella was ordained a priest on May 26, 1866 in Como, and was assigned to a small parish in Savogno. and is the founder of several religious institutes: the Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence (1890) and the Servants of Charity alongside his friends David Albertario and Giuseppe Toniolo. Guanella also founded the Pious Union of Saint Joseph (1914) with his supporter and first member Pope Pius X. These religious communities focused on the relief of the poor throughout the world. The Servants of Charity motto reads "In Omnibus Charitas" which became the cornerstone for Guanella's own life.
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Saint Giovanni Battista Piamarta was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and educator. Piamarta was also the founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Piamarta established his congregation in 1900 in order to promote Christian education across the Italian peninsula. Piamarta also founded the Humble Servants of the Lord.
Gaetano Pace Forno was a Maltese Archbishop who became the Bishop of Malta after his predecessor Archbishop Publio Maria dei Conti Sant tendered his resignation.
Saint Guido Maria Conforti was a Roman Catholic Italian archbishop and was the founder of the Xaverian Missionary Fathers on 3 December 1895. He was known to make frequent visits to his parishes and worked to support the religious education and religious involvement among the youth.
Saint Manuel González García was a Spanish bishop of the Roman Catholic Church who served as the Bishop of Palencia from 1935 until his death. He was also the founder of the Eucharistic Missionaries of Nazareth and also established both the Disciples of Saint John and the Children of Reparation. He was known for his strong devotion to the Eucharist and became known as the "Bishop of the Tabernacle" due to this devotion; he made it an objective of his to spread devotion to the Eucharist and encouraged frequent reception of it.
Saint Luigi Scrosoppi was an Italian priest of the Roman Catholic Church who founded the Sisters of Providence of Saint Cajetan of Thiene. He was canonized in 2001.
Rafaela Porras Ayllón was a Spanish Roman Catholic professed religious who established the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in conjunction with her sister; upon becoming a nun she assumed the religious name of "María of the Sacred Heart of Jesus". She was a nun for most of her life and devoted herself to the management of the congregation and resided in Rome until her death after her resignation as the order's superior in 1893.
Saint Francesco Spinelli was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and the founder of the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament. Spinelli became close contemporaries of Saint Geltrude Comensoli and Blessed Luigi Maria Palazzolo and had a previous collaboration with Comensoli in which the two established a religious institute in Bergamo before a rift between members caused Spinelli to distance himself from its work and leave.
The Parish Church of St. Cajetan of Thiene is a Roman Catholic parish church in Ħamrun, Malta, dedicated to Saint Cajetan. The church was constructed between 1869 and 1875 to designs of Giorgio Costantino Schinas, in a combination of architectural styles. The oratory and dome were added later on in the 1890s and 1950s, the latter being designed by Andrea Vassallo.
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