All the best to Mr Oliver Scicluna and thank you to Mrs. Ruth Sciberras

Id-Dar tal-Providenza wishes all the best to Mr Oliver Scicluna on his appointment as the new Chief Executive of Aġenzija Sapport within the Ministry for Inclusion, Voluntary Organisations and Consumer Rights.

In his new post, Mr Scicluna, will be bringing with him a wealth of knowledge and experience in his involvement with the disability sector. His new work will surely ensure that the services offered by Aġenzija Sapport will continue to improve the quality of life of persons with disability using them. We, therefore, assure him of our total support.

Id-Dar tal-Providenza also wishes to thank Mrs Ruth Sciberras, the ex-Chief Executive of Aġenzija Sapport for her work within the Agency and for the cooperation she afforded us during our mutual involvement in the sector.

Dun Mikiel Azzopardi remembered on the 35th anniversary of his death

 

“Mgr Mikiel Azzopardi, whose 35th anniversary of his death, is being remembered today, 13th of May, will remain for us a model for the love he showed towards persons with disabilities. He also showed courage. Courage strengthened with a tremendous faith in God’s providence and Dar tal-Providenza is proof of this”. This was the message conveyed by Mgr. George Frendo O.P., Archbishop of Tirana in Albania, during a commemorative mass for Dun Mikiel.

Archbishop Frendo was assisted by Fr Martin Micallef, Director, and Fr Trevor Fairclough, Spiritual Director of Dar tal-Providenza. Also present were the residents and employees. For the past two years, this commemorative mass was not held because of the restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mgr Mikiel Azzopardi, who founded the Home in 1965, was born in Valletta on the 10th of February and died on May 13th 1987, exactly 35 years ago.

In his homily, Mgr Frendo also addressed the Home’s employees and told them that their work wasn’t simply a job but it was really and truly a mission and a mission of love. He encouraged them to look at the face of every resident of the Home and see in it the face of Christ. This way their work wouldn’t just be an act of love, but would be, first of all, an act of faith. Faith in Christ, who in the Gospel told his apostles that he was the way that will lead them to truth and life.

This was the first official visit of Archbishop Emeritus, George Frendo at Dar tal-Providenza. He was shown around Dun Mikiel’s museum adjacent to the chapel, the therapeutic pool, the St Isidore Agriculture Centre, the SPRED Centre as well as the multisensory rooms.

Melita Foundation sponsors drip irrigation system for Id-Dar tal-Providenza’s olive grove

The Melita Foundation has committed to funding the drip irrigation system for the olive grove located at Id‑Dar tal‑Providenza’s garden. Id‑Dar tal‑Providenza provides residential services to persons with disabilities in a family‑like environment.

The grove, which was created through donations from various benefactors, is one of the most popular areas among residents at the property in Siġġiewi. Moreover, the olives produced by the olive trees are grinded and the produce is sold by the residents during folkloristic activities which are organised throughout the year in various localities in Malta.

Fr Martin Micallef, Director at Id‑Dar tal‑Providenza, said, “Our commitment has always been to promote the holistic personal development of all our residents, essential to which is spending time in nature. The space and tranquillity provided by our olive grove as well as the work they can do in it provides immeasurable benefits. It is great to know that thanks to The Melita Foundation, we no longer need to worry about the manual daily watering of more than 300 olive trees.”

Tanya Sammut‑Bonnici, Chairperson of The Melita Foundation, said, “For more than 50 years, Id‑Dar tal‑Providenza has provided outstanding support for people with disabilities. It has done this, thanks also to the support and generosity of thousands of Maltese which provides the organisation with the significant human and financial resources it needs to operate. Both Melita and The Melita Foundation have supported Id‑Dar tal‑Providenza’s work over the years and this latest support will help ensure residents continue to enjoy the peace, the beauty and other benefits which the olive grove offers.”

More information on The Melita Foundation is available at https://www.melitafoundation.org/

 

Monsignor Lawrence Gatt – 60 years of priesthood.

Wednesday the 7th of April 2022, Mgr. Lawrence Gatt celebrates 60 years of priesthood. He was ordained priest by the then Archbishop of Malta, Mgr. Mikiel Gonzi at St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta on the 7th April 1962.

Mgr. Gatt was born in Paola on the 7th of February 1937 to Olga nee Scicluna and Joseph. After primary school he studied at the Lyceum and in 1954 he entered the Archbishop’s Seminary to start his formation for the priesthood. He got his academic formation at the University of Malta where in 1958 he attained Bachelorship in Greek and Latin and in 1962 a Licenciate in Thrology. At the beginning of his pastoral ministry he was Vice-Rector of the Archbishop’s Seminary.

In 1977 he went back to the Archbishop’s Seminary, this time as Rector until June 27th 1987 when then Archbishop Ġużeppi Mercieca appointed him as Director of Id-Dar tal-Providenza and he officially took office on July 1st 1987. He remained in this capacity for twenty-two years after which Archbishop Pawl Cremona O.P. appointed him Chancellor at the Curia.

During his tenure Villa Papa Luciani was inaugurated, Dar iż-Żerniq opened its doors in the community of Siggiewi and Villa Monsinjur Gonzi was rebuilt from scratch. 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.

In 2010, he was given the Dun Mikiel Azzopardi Award in appreciation for his work as Director of Dar tal-Providenza whilst on the 5th March 2017 the Siġġiewi Local Council presented him with the ‘Onorifiċenza Mertu Siġġiewi’.

Ad Multos Annos.

The reliquary of Our Lady of Tears of Siracuse, Sicily venerated at the Home’s chapel.

Residents and support workers of Dar tal-Providenza had the privilege to take a few moments to pray in the presence of the reliquary of Our Lady of Tears of Siracuse in Sicily that was brought to the Home’s Chapel.

The reliquary is in Malta on the initiative of the Fraternity of the Virgin Mary of the Girdle at St.Catherine’s parish in Żejtun.

Support Worker Evelyn Borg passes away

Dar tal-Providenza is deeply saddened by the passing away of Support Worker Evelyn Borg. Evelyn was a very committed worker at the Anġlu Kustodju Flat in Siġġiewi. She will be sorely missed.

On behalf of the residents and administration of Dar tal-Providenza our deepest condolences to the family.

Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord.

Resident Emmanuel Galea meets Pope Francis

Emmanuel Galea, resident for a number of years at Dar tal-Providenza, Sunday morning was introduced to Pope Francis during a meeting with vulnerable persons that took place at the Collegiate Basilica of St. Paul in Rabat.

 

The meeting was part of a programme of activities prepared for the visit to Malta of His Holines Pope Francis on the 2nd and 3rd of April 2022.

Pope Francis in Malta in the footsteps of St. Paul

“The inhabitants treated us with kindness” Acts. 28:2

Saturday and Sunday, 2nd and 3rd April 2022.

His Holiness Pope Francis ended a two-day visit in Malta after an intense programme of meetings and activities in Malta and Gozo. Thousands attended a prayer meeting at the National Santuary of Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu in Għarb, Gozo on Saturday and a eucharistic celebration on the granaries in Floriana on Sunday. Each activity had its own spiritual, political and social significance.

On his attival at the Malta International Airport Saturday morning, the Pope was greeted by the President of Malta, Dr George Vella and Mrs. Vella as well as the highest authorities who also bid him farewell on his return trip to Rome Sunday evening.

In his homily on the granaries, Pope Francis  said we should not take notice of those surrounding us but we should look for those that are missing. We should not keep pointing our fingers but listen to what they want to say. We should not discard the downtrodden but put in the front those that have been sidelined.

During the prayer meeting at the Ta’ Pinu National Sanctuary, Pope Francis said that Malta is in a crucial geographical position, which is for the Mediterranean an attraction and a port of haven to so many persons battered by the storms of life who for various reasons land on our shores. In the faces of these poor it is Christ himself who is coming to us.

Two significant meetings the Pope had were with vulnerable people at the Collegiate Basilica of St. Paul in Rabat and with immigrants at the John XXII Peace Lab in Ħal Far.

 

Bicycle ride nets €2,000 in aid of Dar tal-Providenza

An initiative taken by the management and staff of the Dolmen Hotel in Qawra raised €2,000 in aid of Dar tal-Providenza. The cyclists ended their ride at the San Giovanni XXIII square in front of the chapel in Siġġiewi.

Mr John Muscat, HR Manager at the Dolmen, presented the cheque to the Director of the Home, Fr Martin Micallef who, in the name of the residents and administration, thanked the management and staff of the hotel for their initiative of solidarity towards Dar tal-Providenza.

10th February 1910 – 10th February 2022

The 112th Anniversary of the birth of Mgr. Mikiel Azzopardi

Thursday, 10th February, 2022 happens to be the 112th anniversary of the birth of Mgr Mikiel Azzopardi, the Founder of Dar tal‑Providenza.

Mikiel Azzopardi was born in Valletta on 10th February 1910, the day Malta commemorates the shipwreck of St. Paul on our shores, of Toninu Azzopardi and Amalja neè Galea. He was baptised three days later at the Parish Church of Our Lady of Porto Salvo in Merchants Street. He received his First Holy Communion at the age of 6 years from Archbishop Dom Mauro Caruana OSB at St John’s Co‑Cathedral and a year later he was confirmed by the Auxiliary Bishop of Malta, Mgr. Angelo Portelli.

He was educated at the Government Primary School in St Elmo, Valletta, at the Seminary of the Diocese of Gozo, the Lyceum in Valletta and then at the Royal University of Malta where he commenced the Law Course which he left four years into it because he felt the call to the priesthood.

Dun Mikiel was ordained on 22 December 1934 at the age of 24 by Archbishop Caruana. Not long after his ordination, the Archbishop appointed him as his personal assistant. In 1940, he was appointed Ecclesiastical Assistant General of the Catholic Action and embarked on organizing and spreading this lay ecclesiastical movement in all parishes of Malta and Gozo. Within the Archdiocese of Malta he set up, amongst other initiatives, the Diocesan Steering Committee for Catholic Associations, as well as Parish Councils.

During the course of his pastoral work, he discovered that various persons with disabilities were living in a deplorable state so much so that they were even hidden in cellars in totally appalling conditions, and in certain cases even unbeknown to their siblings. Persons with disabilities were often ridiculed in public or sent to a hospital which was ill‑equipped for their needs. Dun Mikiel also felt that various families with a disabled member had an urgent need to find people who offered them solace. It was then that the idea started to germinate within him to find a place where these persons could find an environment where to live – an environment that they deserved and that respected their dignity.

Therefore, on 12 September 1965, he started off with a generous donation of LM100 given to him by a lady who had saved the money for a vacation. This was the genesis of Id‑Dar tal‑Providenza, the first Home in Malta that offered residential services to persons with disability. Up to this very day, Id‑Dar tal‑Providenza remains a living miracle of the Divine Providence.

Mgr. Mikiel Azzopardi died on 13 May 1987 at the age of 77 and was buried, as he had always wished, in the courtyard of the Home amongst the persons with disabilities that he loved so intensely.

Photo: Residents place flowers in front of the monument of Mgr Mikiel Azzopardi in Triq Mons. Azzopardi in Siġġiewi.