11th edition of BOV Marigold Volleyball Marathon in aid of id-Dar tal-Providenza officially launched

The 11th edition of the BOV Marigold Volley Marathon in aid of Id-Dar tal-Providenza was officially launched during a press conference held at the home for people with disability in Siġġiewi.

The 53 hour volleyball marathon will kick off on Friday 5th July at 6.30pm in the car park of id-Dar tal-Providenza and continues non-stop until midnight on the 7th July 2019.

The 2019 was officially launched by Fr Martin Micallef, Director of Id-Dar tal-Providenza and Ms Michelle Muscat, Chairperson of ‘The Marigold Foundation – BOV in the Community’. They were accompanied by Ms Elvia George, Chief Finance Officer at Bank of Valletta and Mr Emanuel Zammit, Chairperson of the Marathon’s Organising Committee.

‘The Marathon is an annual fund-raising event in aid of Id-Dar tal-Providenza that really puts altruism to the fore,’ said Fr Martin. ‘The marathon sees sportsmanship and volunteerism going hand-in-hand with the sole aim of raising funds to ensure that this Home continues to offer a family-like environment for its residents.’

‘The Marigold Foundation recognises the fact that for the majority of its funding requirements id-Dar tal-Providenza relies on donations from the Maltese and Gozitan population,’ said Mrs Michelle Muscat. ‘The role of the Marigold Foundation in this annual fund-raising initiative is to cover all expenses related to the organisation of the volleyball marathon, thus ensuring that each and every cent donated by the general public during this weekend of solidarity goes towards the running and upkeep of this very important element in the fabric of the Maltese Community.’

‘Bank of Valletta has been an integral part of all 11 editions of the Volleyball Marathon, an initiative that we are proud to be associated. Besides raising the much needed funds, this event spreads the Home’s message of respect and dignity towards people with disability,’ said Ms George. ‘We are confident that this year’s edition will once again be another testimony of the nation’s generosity that we are synonymous with.’

‘We are very grateful to all the participants in the marathon, the players, organisational committee and volunteers who each year turn up in numbers to ensure the success of this annual celebration of sports and solidarity,’ said Mr Zammit. ‘We are happy to see the commitment of people who return year after year, as well as seeing new faces to keep the event fresh and form new friendships in this ever increasing family.’

Contributions can be made by calling 51702012 for a €15 donation and 51802013 for a €25 donation. A donation of €6.99 can be made by sending a blank SMS to 50618944. BOV Mobile Pay subscribers may make their donation to on the following number 79324834. There is also a pledge line 2146 1537.

The Maltese High Commissioner for Australia and New Zealand pays visit to Id-Dar tal-Providenza

The Maltese High Commissioner for Australia and New Zealand, Mr Charles Muscat and Mrs Muscat paid a courtesy visit to Fr Martin Micallef, Director of Id-Dar tal-Providenza in Siġġiewi.
Fr Martin explained to Commissioner Muscat the work that is done with persons of disability in the Home’s residencies and the continuous need for financial support from the people of Malta and Gozo. Commissioner Muscat praised the work of the Friends of Providence House Group in New South Wales that raises funds every year from amongst the Maltese living in Australia in aid of the Siġġiewi Home.

“At Id-Dar tal-Providenza I see a living miracle that renews itself every day.” – The President of Malta, Dr George Vella during his first official visit to the Siġġiewi Home.

The President of Malta, Dr George Vella, accompanied by Mrs Vella, paid his first official visit to Id-Dar tal-Providenza and in a short speech to residents and workers he said that in Id-Dar tal-Providenza he sees a living miracle that renews itself every day. He added that gone are the days when persons with disabillity were set aside or not given the attention they deserved. This is something that reflects the progress in our society where persons with disabillity get what they deserve by right and not through charity. The President said that this is something that truly elevates human dignity because every person, even with faults and failings, is in God’s image and deserves the full respect from everyone. Dr Vella ended by thanking all workers and volunteers for their duty and work they are doing on behalf of society.

In his welcome speech, Fr Martin Micallef, Director of Id-Dar tal-Providenza, congratulated Dr Vella on his appointment to the highest office of the country and said that his presence as well as that of Mrs Vella is not only honour to the Administration, residents and workers but is also a sign, that as with his predecessors, he has the work done at the Home at heart.

Fr Martin said that Id-Dar tal-Providenza is and will remain committed to offer its services to persons with disability as well as being an inspiration to Maltese society of the values that distinguishes us as a nation, that of solidarity and respect for every person from conception to death.

The President and Mrs Vella visited the chapel and the museum dedicated to Mgr Mikiel Azzopardi and later toured the Therapeutic Pool, the Agriculture Centre, the Multisensory rooms and the Music Room. They also took the opportunity to meet some of the employees.

During a luncheon, Fr Martin presented the President with a silver plate with a signed message by Mgr Mikiel Azzopardi.

13th May 2019 – the 32nd Anniversary of Mgr Mikiel Azzopardi’s death

The 32nd anniversary of Mgr Mikiel Azzopardi’s death was commemorated with a eucharistic celebration at the chapel of Id-Dar tal-Providenza. In attendance were members of the Malta Catholic Action, residents and friends of the Home. Dun Mikiel, as more popularly referred to, was born in Valletta on February 10th, 1910. He founded the Siġġiewi Home in September 1965 and died on May 13th, 1987.

Fr Martin Micallef, Director of Id-Dar tal-Providenza, led the celebration assisted by Fr Reuben Gauci, Ecclesiastical Assistant of ZAK (Catholic Action Youths), In his homily, Fr Martin described Dun Mikiel Azzopardi as a good shepherd who still inspires Maltese society with his vision and work so that persons with disability are accorded respect, dignity and rights which they did not have in his time. He also helped to correct the way Maltese society looked at persons with disability then. Persons with disability are not second-class citizens but persons with equal rights. At the moment, Id-Dar tal-Providenza hosts approximately hundred and fifteen persons between the ages of fourteen and over eighty years. It is made up of three residences: Villa Monsinjur Gonzi, Villa Papa Giovanni and Villa Papa Luciani and includes community homes in Siġġiewi, Qawra, Birkirkara, Żurrieq and, later this year, in Balluta.

Fr Martin also referred to the vision of Jean Vanier who died last week on May 7th at the age of 90. Vanier, who had paid a visit to Dar tal-Providenza in September of 1985, like Dun Mikiel has founded the communities known as L’Arche where persons with intellectual disabilities live together with their helpers in small homes in the community. Today, L’Arche is spread in thirty-seven different countries around the world. Jean Vanier used to say that living with persons with disability helps you appreciate the beauty in their heart and the unique value of every person. Jesus never rejected anyone and showed us that he wants to include everyone so much so that he became one like us. Vanier stresses that the world exalts those capable of going up the rungs of success, ambition, competition, material wealth and power. Despite laws and conventions safeguarding the rights of persons with disability there are still those that regard these persons as a “problem” and so we promote the abortion of persons with disability when still in the womb and we discriminate against perons with disability.

At the end of the celebration, Mr Josef DeBono, President of the Malta Catholic Action made a short address during which he criticised the hate speech against persons with disability that we have been bombared with lately in our own country. He urged that, like Dun Mikiel, we promote the culture of life that respects every person from conception. Those present also found time to gather and pray around Dun Mikiel’s grave.

Id-Dar tal-Providenza bids farewell to Jean Vanier, Founder of L’Arche International

Id-Dar tal-Providenza wishes to express its sorrow for the death of Jean Vanier, the founder of the international communities l’Arche and Faith and Light at the age of 90.
Jean visited id-Dar tal-Providenza on the 9th of September 1985, when he was in Malta at the invitation of the Diocesan Youth Commission to be the main speaker at the first edition of ‘Festażgħażagħ’ that was held at the Tradefair Grounds in Naxxar. During his stay in Malta he also gave a series of talks at the Caritas offices in Floriana.
Jean Vanier was a Canadian philosopher of French origin who in 1964 chose to leave behind his academic career and began living with two intellectually disabled men in Trosly in France where he founded the communities of L’Arche. In these communities, intellectually disabled persons together with their helpers shared their life together in small homes in the community. Little by little, with the courage and vision of Jean Vanier, the L’Arche communities in France mushroomed to 152 spread over 37 countries across the five continents. Today, 5,000 disabled men and women are living at the heart of society, can make themselves heard and live in an environment that helps them develop their capabilities to the fullest.

These communities are united in a common vision etched on a set of principles that inspire this work.

Jean Vanier was an inspiration to Fr Anġ Seychell, better know as Dun Anġ, to open his home to persons with intellectual disability which he named ‘Dar Nazaret’. Another home that Dun Anġ opened nearby was appropriately named after Jean Vanier.

Jean Vanier’s message is always an encouragement to build communities of compassion with emphasis on the dignity and value of human life. He stresses that persons with disability not only transformed him as a person but he also sees in them a call to appreciate that difference is a gift and not a threat.

Jean Vanier is also an author of many books.

“La Via Del Calvario”, concert of Sacred Music in aid of Id-Dar tal-Providenza

The Metropolitan Cathedral of St Paul in Mdina was packed to capacity last Saturday, April 13th for “La Via del Calvario”, a concert of Sacred Music for the Holy Week by the Malta Police Force Band under the direction of the Director of Music, Assistant Commissioner Mro Anthony Cassar. Present for the concert, that was in aid of Id-Dar tal-Providenza, were amongst others H.E. The President of Malta, Dott. George Vella, the Minister for Home Affairs and Internal Security, Dr Michael Farrugia, H.G. Mgr Charles J. Scicluna, Archbishop of Malta, the Police Commissioner, Mr Lawrence Cutajar and Fr Martin Micallef, Director of the Siġġiewi Home.

 

The Police Force Band was accompanied by the Amadeus Chamber Choir, the Guest Musicians Ensemble, soprano Ruth Sammut Casingena, tenors Brian Cefai and Charles Vincenti, the organist of the Mdina Cathedral, Dr Chris Rolè, harpist Esmeralda Galea Camilleri, violinist and saxophonist, Mro. David Joseph Sammut together with the Malta Police Pipe Band. No less than one hundred and twenty participants took part in the two-and-a-half hour concert.

 

“La Via Del Calvario” was one of three concerts planned to take place throughout this year to commemorate the 25th Anniversary from the reactivation of the Band in 1994 as well as the 205th Anniversary of the founding of the Police Force in 1814.

Governor of Rotary District 2100 in Calabria and Campania pays visit to Id-Dar tal-Providenza

As part of the Symbolic Peace Walk with the aim of uniting all peoples organised by Rotary District 2100, Calabria and Campania in Italy, District Governor Salvatore Iovieno paid a visit to Id-Dar tal-Providenza.  He was accompanied by his wife, District 2100 officials Rodolfo Inderset and Lucia Cristofero and hosted by Brian Gibbs, Byran Sullivan and Patricia Salamone of Rotary Club La Vallette Malta.

Governor Iovieno had the possibility to see the specialised Music Room which was funded by Rotary International and inaugurated last year together with other facilities.  At the end of the visit Governor Iovieno made a kind donation to Id-Dar tal-Providenza.

Id-Dar tal-Porovidenza mourns two of its ex-employees

This week, Id-Dar tal-Providenza is mourning two of its ex-employees who passed away this week. Valerie Piscopo from Żabbar and Joseph Fenech Castaldi from Ħamrun.

Valerie joined id-Dar tal-Providenza in 1997 and after a short period working in Jasmine Flat she joined the staff of ‘Żerniq’ the first community home in Siġġiewi. Valerie enjoyed playing her guitar during liturgical celebrations during Christmas and Easter.

Joseph started working at the Home in Siġġiewi in 1981. He had various jobs but his last working years were as Storekeeper.

Id-Dar tal-Providenza sends its heartfelt condolences to the families of Valerie and Joseph.

May God give them eternal rest

Homily delivered during funeral mass for Debbie Schembri

Homily delivered by Fr Martin Micallef, Director of Id-Dar tal-Providenza, during funeral mass for Debbie Schembri at the chapel of the Addolorata Cemetery

If I’m not mistaken, the first time I met Debbie was when in my second year at the seminary I went to Dar tal-Providenza to volunteer for a day and I met her at the administration office where she used to work at that time. The second time I saw her was during the mass on the granaries in Floriana during Pope John Paul II’s visit to Malta. That day, together with her parents she went up with the ciborium filled with hosts during the offertory. Some years ago, I managed to get a copy of the photos of this unique occasion from the Vatican photo archives and I made a copy that Debbie appreciated so much. Who would have told me that years later I would get to know her from so much closer!

Today, her son, her father, her sister, relatives, colleagues and friends, are all shocked with Debbie’s passing away so suddenly, although lately her health wasn’t as good as it should have been. Life is full of mysteries, full of surprises sometimes good, sometimes bad, difficult as that which we’re going through today. But in the quietness of this difficult moment, the Lord will come amongst us as he did when he appeared to the apostles scared from the Jews, completely lost with the death of this Jesus and he tells them: “Peace be with you”. Have courage my friends you can see that I rose again from the dead. Don’t you remember what I told you when I had the last supper with you: “A little while and you shall not see me and again a little while and you shall see me.” (John 16:16). Here I am amongst you, risen from the dead. When I go to prepare for you a place to stay, I will come back and take you with me so that where I am, you will be too.

Let us during this difficult moment, strengthen our faith in the resurrection from the dead. Jesus told Lazarus’ sister Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes Lord,” she replied, “I believe”. Let us today respond to Jesus with the same Yes Lord, we believe that Debbie, who in our eyes is dead, has today arrived in her last destination with you in heaven for ever. It is this faith in the resurrection that in a difficult moment like this we can feel the Lord drying our tears and changing them into tears of joy and hope.

Apart from this difficult moment being a time when the Lord helps us renew our faith in the resurrection from the dead, it is at the same time an opportune moment to thank the Lord for giving us persons like Debbie that inspire us.

Debbie inspired everyone with her huge determination. The determination to live, to study, to work, to enjoy life, to fight for her rights and those of others, the determination to become a mother. Obstacles in determining her own life she found many, but Debbie was a fighter. She never gave up fighting against the negative attitudes of society, unfortunately still prevalent today, towards persons with disabilities. This verse from the Book of Proverbs cannot describe her better: “Who can find a woman of worth? Far beyond jewels is her value.” (Prov 31,10).

Debbie was a woman who appreciated the commitment of those in her life who were supportive of her so that she could move on. So that we don’t leave anyone out, we mention Dun Mikiel Azzopardi, about whom she always said that he used to believe in her. In one of her speeches she had said: “Dun Mikiel used to believe that we persons with disability deserve all that every human person deserves; it deserves respect and dignity, equal opportunities to have a better quality of life, a voice to be heard and a contribution that persons with disability can give to the good of the society we live in.” Today, Debbie thanks all those in her life who respected her like that, all those who meant a lot to her. The list is rather long. Allow me to mention Sr Victoria who cared for her when she was young.

Today, persons with disability have lost a voice. I urge persons with disability to follow Debbie’s example and be not afraid to make their voice heard, not afraid to fight against discrimination, many times very subtle, that they meet every day. Changes in people’s negative attitudes towards persons with disability will only happen if we do not remain silent, if we create more awareness about the rights of persons with disability and anything that creates obstacles for them to participate fully in society like everyone else.

In scripture, God shows how precious we are in his eyes, We are all created in his image and likeness, (Gen 1,27). We are equal in his eyes. Debbie was precious in God’s eyes like every person conceived in the womb. As we read in the First Book of Samuel, Chapter 16 verse 7 God does not consider our appearances or our height… The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Thank you Lord for Debbie, for all that you taught us through her, receive her now in your loving arms in heaven.

Debbie, may you rest in peace.

Mass on the occasion of World Down Syndrome Day

On Thursday, 21st March, on the occasion of World Syndrome Day. The Malta Down Syndrome Association held a Mass for its members and friends at the Dar tal-Providenza chapel in Siġġiewi. Also present were the Parliamentary Secretary for the Rights of Persons with Disability and Active Ageing, Mr. Anthony Agius Decelis as well as the President of the Association, Mrs Joeanne Xerri.

 

Fr Martin Micallef, Director of Id-Dar tal-Providenza, celebrated Mass. In his homily he stressed that we all have to be part of a society that looks at the difference not as a threat but as a treasure. A society that doesn’t look at the person with disability with the medical model in that it sees the person with disability as a problem but with the social model, in which society accepts that it creates the disability problem when it does not adapt to the needs, expectations and aspirations of these persons.

 

The Malta Down Syndrome Association offers support to parents of children who are born with this condition and works for more awareness so that persons with this intellectual condition can achieve their potential.