Onorifiċenza Mertu Siġġiewi for Mgr Lawrence Gatt, ex-Director of Id-Dar tal-Providenza

Id-Dar tal-Providenza wishes to express its satisfaction as well as its appreciation that Mgr Lawrence Gatt, ex-Director of Id-Dar tal-Providenza, was presented with the Onorifiċenza Mertu Siġġiewi by the Siġġiewi Local Council. Mgr Gatt just turned 80 and was Director of the Home for a full 22 years between 1978 and 2009. Currently he is the Chancellor of the Maltese Curia.

The presentation ceremony took place on Sunday 5th March 2017 at Id-Dar tal-Providenza under the Distinguished Patronage of Dr Louis Galea following a thanksgiving Mass at the Home’s Chapel and was held on the occasion of Jum is-Siġġiewi.

Whilst Mgr Gatt was Director of the Home, Villa Papa Luciani was inaugurated, Dar Żerniq opened its doors in the community of Siġġiewi and Villa Monsinjur Gonzi was rebuilt from scratch. Other refurbishing works were undertaken on existing facilities and structures.

Also under his watch, apart from improved support for the residents and respite services, the residents with intellectual disabilities started getting support to grow in their faith through symbolic catechesis with the support of the Glasgow based Agency SPRED (SPecial REligious Development).

Together with Mgr Lawrence Gatt Prof Albert Fenech, Sr Adele Baldacchino, Mr Joe Aquilina and Mro Euchar Gravina were also apresented the Onorifiċenza Mertu Siġġiewi.

$7,000AUD raised during Fund Raising Night in Australia for Id-Dar tal-Providenza

The Friends of Providence House NSW(FOPH) in conjunction with the Hamrun Club at Marsden Park, Sydney raised $7,000AUD during a Fund Raising Night on Saturday 18th February 2017 in aid of Id-Dar tal-Providenza.

Those who attended warmly applauded a message, that was read by Ms Marisa Previtera, Secretary FOPH, from the Home’s Director, Fr Martin Micallef who said that it is indeed heart-warming to know that thousands of miles away there are Maltese and Gozitans that never let go of their roots and financially continue to support organisations back home like Id-Dar tal-Providenza. He thanked members and supporters of the Hamrun Club who chose to be present at the Fund Raising Night and be part of the generous donation made to the Siġġiewi Home.

The Friends of Providence House of New South Wales is led by its Founder and Coordinator Jim Borg.

The Two Islands Challenge in aid of id-Dar tal-Providenza Join us for a 45km walk or part of it

The Groups “Experience: Adventures and More” and “Camini…amo” will be organising the fourth edition of The Two Islands Challenge. This is a 45km walk that starts off in Gozo and ends at the south end of Malta. This challenge will be taking place on Friday, March 31st 2017.

The participants from Malta will meet up at Ċirkewwa near the Ferry at 7.00am to board on the 7.30am trip. At their arrival in Mġarr transport will be available to take them near the San Dimitri Chapel in Għarb from where the walk starts at 8.30am. The participants from Gozo will gather at 8.00am near the parish church of Għarb. From there the participants will walk 13km to the Mġarr harbour in time for the 11.15am ferry trip to Malta. Once at Ċirkewwa they will set on the 32Km walk to Birżebbuġa parish church. Anyone who for some reason or another cannot do the whole challenge may just do part of it.

Those wishing to participate need to register by visiting the site: www.dartalprovidenza.org. For more information you can also visit the Facebook pages of “”Experience: Adventures and More” and “Camini…amo”

Marcel Pisani – A stalwart that counted for persons with disability

Id-Dar tal-Providenza honours the memory of Mr Marcel Pisani, a great activist in the disability sector, who was called to join his Creator on Saturday, 12th February 2017. His work within the National Parents’ Society Persons with Disability (Għaqda Nazzjonali Ġenituri b’Diżabilità) which he led for a number of years and Aġenzija Sapport of which he was the first CEO, resulted in a better quality of life for many persons with disability and their parents.
In front of all the obstacles that society raised against inclusion and participation by persons with disability in the life of society, added to his own experience of having two disabled children, Marcel did not remain passive but created a parents’ movement to speak up with the authorities on behalf of their children so that they are given what is theirs by right.
The road was not easy, but Marcel’s determination together with that of his wife Adelina and other parents led to the changes that were needed in the mentality of the people that used to look negatively at persons with disability as well as in other services that were totally unavailable.
As part of the National Parents’ Society Persons with Disability, Marcel worked hard for the setting up of Dar il-Kaptan to offer respite services to parents of persons with disability that needed it. Within Aġenzija Sapport, that was practically set up by him, he introduced a wide range of services amongst them the opening of a number of residential homes and other services in the community for persons with disability.
In 2013, Id-Dar tal-Providenza recognised his unstinted work in the disability sector and presented him and his wife Adelina with the Premju Dun Mikiel Azzopardi.
Id-Dar tal-Providenza conveys its heartfelt condolences to his wife Adelina and his sons Paul and Matthew.

Id-Dar tal-Providenza gets a helping hand and a donation from ITS, Tourism Ministry

A number of ITS students and employees today gave a helping hand at id-Dar tal-Providenza as part of the tourism education institute’s Corporata Social Responsibility.

Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis lauded the generous initiative and urged all other entities that fall under his ministry’s remit to follow suit.

ITS CEO Pierre Fenech said the institute had a responsibility towards society and these events also brought students and employees together for a noble cause.

Dr Zammit Lewis and Mr Fenech presented a donation of €882 to Dar tal-Providenza Director Fr Martin Micallef. The sum was made up of donations collected from Tourism Ministry employees and a food sale organized by the ITS.

Photo Credit: DOI – Pierre Sammut

Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna meets up with Maltese Deaf Persons

During a meeting with Maltese deaf persons, Archbishop Mgr Charles J. Scicluna had the opportunity to hear about their difficulties, their wishes and aspirations in order to feel included and partecipatory as full active members in the life of the Church.
Steven Mulvaney, President of the Deaf People Association Malta said that in Malta there are 250 persons that use the Maltese Sign Language and are members of the Association. Obviously, there are different levels of deafness such as those who are hard of hearing and those who lose their hearing as a result of old age. In total it is envisaged that there are around 1,000 deaf people in our country.
Mr Mulvaney thanked the Archbishop who has graciously accepted the Association’s invitation to meet up with its members as well as for the support of the Church in Malta for the inclusion of deaf people within the Church. He referred to the Saturday evening Mass at the University of Malta Chapel where the Church actually pays for sign language interpreters so that deaf people are able to understand what is being said and become active participants.
As part of their wish list, he mentioned the need of more masses that are accessible to them, the need for visual screens to be set up in churches to highlight the readings or printed material from which they can at least follow what is being said. He praised the efforts of the Church to soon embark on a project for liturgy readings to be recorded in the Maltese Sign Language. It is his wish that in the near future these videos will be accessible on an App that one can access through internet on mobile during the mass itself. He also mentioned the importance for seminarians to be fully appraised with deaf culture and the needs of deaf persons. Seminarians should be given the opportunity to attend a basic course on the Maltese Sign Language as part of pastoral formation.
Mr Mulvaney also made reference to the need for services of interpreters of the Sign Language during Cathecism classes, preparations for the sacraments such as the First Holy Communion, Confirmation, Baptism and Holy Matrimony so that everyone can partake of the same formation.
Other deaf persons took part in the discussion. Keith Callus spoke of the necessity that there should also be a mass interpreted in Maltese Sign Language on Sunday mornings apart from the Saturday evening one. Natalino Psaila added that he would love to have masses broadcast on the national television station using the Maltese Sign Language. A mother of a deaf child said that the first problem she encountered was when her daughter started attending Museum classes. The first reaction of the cathecist was that there was no need for the child to attend these classes because the Parish Priest would administer the first Holy Communion anyway. The parent insisted that her daughter had the right like everyone else to attend cathecism classes. Infact with her help as well as that of the interpreter her daughter would be well prepared like everybody else for her first Holy Communion. She insisted that cathecists should take awareness courses on the needs of deaf persons and not take it for granted that these persons are understanding them.
In his reactive comments, Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna requested the Deaf People Association Malta to make contact with the Seminary so that seminarians would be appraised on the realities facing deaf persons and enourage them to learn the Maltese Sign Language. He mentioned the importance that the Church offers the services of interpreters of the Maltese Sign Language during Cathecism classes and other special occasions. The Archbishop also shared his wish that the Church continues to develop services so that deaf persons feel included in whatever Church they attend mass. He also mentioned the importance that parishes become aware of deaf persons living in their community so that they can respond better to their needs. For example, for the blessing of families, the parish priest might be able to organise a day when he can take an interpreter with him during his visits to families with deaf persons. As for the Sacrament of Reconciliation the Archbishop highlighted that Church Law allows that in the absence of a priest who knows the Maltese Sign Language, the services of an interpreter may be used and, as in the case of the priest, he/she is also bound with the confessional secrecy.
The Archbishop said that during the upcoming meeting of the College of Parish Priests he will be bringing up the issue of the needs of deaf persons. He expressed his satisfaction that some of those present intimated that they wished to go on a Marian pilgrimage to Lourdes as a group. He encouraged them to organise this pilgrimage where they would have the services of interpreters of the Maltese Sign Language.

980,911 raised in another Feast of Generosity towards Id-Dar tal-Providenza

€980,911 were raised during the New Year’s day Feast of Generosity organised by RTK4Charity in aid of id-Dar tal-Providenza. The dry but rather cool weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of the large crowds that made it to Siġġiewi during the day to make their donation under the big tent set up in the parking lot. As has now been the custom, various parishes in Malta and Gozo made special collections during church celebrations and presented them during the telethon.

The Director, Fr Martin Micallef, said that this year’s edition of the Feast of Generosity has once again shown the solidarity with and generosity of the Maltese people towards Id-Dar tal-Providenza. He thanked the civil and political authorities for their support as well as all those hundreds of volunteers that took part in the organisation of the Feast of Generosity.

The first official visitor was Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna who also celebrated Mass in the Home’s chapel. He said that id-Dar tal-Providenza, whose residents cost €100 per person per day to maintain their quality of life, is a monument to the culture of life and through it our nation spreads the values in favour of life and human dignity so that we can be a source of hope and support to all of Europe. After midnight, Archbishop Scicluna phoned in during the live broadcast as he felt that he should also thank the Maltese public for its generosity towards id-Dar tal-Providenza.

Other visits during the day were made by the President of Malta, Mrs Marie Louise Coleiro Preca and her husband Edgar; Dr Chris Cardona, Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business who stepped in for the Prime Minister, Dr Joseph Muscat who is away from the island; Dr Beppe Fenech Adami, Deputy Leader of the Nationalist Party who was representing the Leader of the Opposition, Dr Simon Busuttil who is also away; the Parliamentary Secretary for the Rights of Persons with Disability and Active Ageing, Dr Justyne Caruana; Archbishop Emeritus, Mgr Pawl Cremona OP and Vicar General Mgr Joe Galea Curmi. Members of Parliament from both sides of the House and representatives of constituted bodies also made it to Siġġiewi during the day.

As part of the Feast of Generosity, €32,010 were raised through an auction of various works of art donated by more than hundred Maltese and foreign artists. Various bids were placed online but most bidders were there personally to follow the process.

The live television broadcast started at 9.00am with Holy Mass and continued till just after midnight when the total sum collected during the day was announced. TVM1, TVM2, ONE TV, NET TV and FLiving Channel took part for long stretches of the 15-hour televised marathon. This included entertainment provided by the top singers on the island and various entertainers that managed to create a festive family atmosphere.