Throughout my whole life and to this very day, the Lord gave me the grace to meet and also work with a lot of people who were and still are a great inspiration to me. One of these persons is John L. Peel whom the Lord has recently called to His side.
John was an exemplary man who, in his own simplicity, lived his life of faith. Surely he was not perfect but saints are also those who live the Gospel in the simplicity of their daily lives.
John was also a family man. He dedicated all his time and energy to his family and lived his marriage call with a great love. John loved unconditionally. He lived for his family. He dearly loved his wife Antoinette, loved his daughter Christine and dedicated his life to her 24 hours a day whilst at the same time giving the same love and attention to his son John, his wife Angela and his grandchildren Stephanie Anne and John Mark. We can safely say his life was a hymn of love. But this hymn of love was not only dedicated to his family but also to a lot of other persons with whom he met. John was a man who was prepared to forget about himself so that he could think of others. His generosity and dedication were limitless and this was manifested in his wide network of voluntary work done in quiet. You could always find him ready to help.
We can also safely say that he was one of the veterans who worked incessantly in the sector for persons with disability in Malta. His work in this field started with the birth of his dear daughter Christine. From that day onwards he never looked back and remained active and interested till the end in everything that was related to this sector. For a whole eighteen years he was the Chairman of the Down Syndrome Association during which time he was also its representative on the Maltese Federation of Organisations for Persons with Disability (MFOPD). For some time he was also the President of the same Federation. John represented the Down Syndrome Association various times in International Fora and represented the Federation on committees within the National Commission for Persons with Disabilty (now known as the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability). John was the Honorary President of the Down Syndrome Association. For various years, John was also a committee member of the National Organisation for Parents with Disability. Apart from all this, until a few days ago John was a volunteer at id-Dar tal-Providenza. And as if this was not enough we cannot not mention his voluntary involvement in the Royal British Legion and the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) where he helped in a special way, families of ex-servicemen to get the pensions and other monies owed to them.
Pope Francis says that love is not just talk, but deeds and service; humble service done in quiet and without publicity, as Jesus himself said: “your left hand must not know what your right is doing” (Mt 6:3). That’s what John was like and that’s why he remains an inspiration to me.
Fr Martin Micallef
Director, Dar tal-Providenza
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