“I am moved in no small way with the generosity and solidarity shown by the Maltese people that notwithstanding everything that is going on handed a beautiful gift of a record €2,531,540 to Dar tal-Providenza.” This was stated by Fr Martin Micallef, Director of the Home, who from his office in Siġġiewi followed the proceedings, handled incoming telephone calls and made a number of interventions using Skype. He continued to say that notwithstanding the Covid-19 and the uncertainties that followed, the Maltese population has again did big things with Dar tal-Providenza that in the last few months witnessed a substantial drop in revenue due to cancelled fundraising events such as the volleyball marathon. This was indeed a message of hope in a time of disheartenment by this pandemic.
Fr Martin said this at the end of the annual televised marathon to raise funds for the Home so that it can continue to provide the best residential services to a hundred and fifteen persons with disability that live in the Siġġiewi Home or its other community homes. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic situation the country is in, the whole programme as well as the venue for the activity had to be changed. In order to ensure the wellbeing and the security of the residents, which have been a top priority since last March, nothing happened at the Home’s Siġġiewi car park except for a ‘drive-through’ where persons wanting to make a donation did so without getting out of their car.
The important fundraising aspect of “Festa ta’ Ġenerożità” including appeals, telephone and on-line donations were done at the We studios in Qormi between noon and midnight. During the marathon, visitors to the studios included the President of Malta, Dr George Vella and Mrs Vella, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi, President Emeritus Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca and, through Skype, Gozo Bishop Anton Teuma and the Leader of the Opposition and Mrs Grech. Also present were ministers and members of parliament from both sides of the House, delegations representing the main poplitical parties, various personalities and representatives of constituted bodies who also took time to answer the phones.
Obviously, everything was done according to the protocols in place by the health authorities including the mandatory wearing of masks, social distancing, separation by perspex, etc.
As has now been the custom, various parishes in Malta and Gozo made special collections during church celebrations that were donated to the Home on behalf of the community some of them also using Skype.
The first official visitor was Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna who also celebrated Mass in the Home’s chapel on the feast of Mary, Mother of God. He was assisted by Mgr. Charles Cordina, Episcopal Vicar for Diaconia and Fr Trevor Fairclough, Spiritual Director of the Home. In his homily he emphasised God’s blessings in the quote from the first reading from the Book of Numbers that the Lord will bless us and keep us and give us peace.
The Archbishop said that those who have been to Dar tal-Providenza easily understand that the Lord uses simple people to do big things. He did this when he used Mgr. Mikiel Azzopardi to work on founding a home for persons with disability and for the last fifty-five years the residents found a home that respected their rights and dignity. He thanked all the carers, workers and volunteers who for the last ten pandemic months have been protecting and caring for the residents and keeping them safe as well as their co-workers.
Mgr. Scicluna referred to the pandemic situation and said that taking the vaccine was not obligatory but was also a duty to show that we, as citizens, are capable of taking care of ourselves and of each other.
The day’s activity started at 9.30am with Holy Mass on TVM2 whilst the televised marathon started at noon and continued till around midnight when the final sum was announced. TVM2, ONE TV and NET TV took part for long stretches of the 12-hour broadcast. This included entertainment provided by the top entertainers on the island.