A great gift of €2,531,540 for Dar tal-Providenza

“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.

Another effort to help out Dar tal-Providenza – The Archbishhop

Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna this morning appealed for the Maltese to make another effort to help out Dar tal-Providenza during the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. He emphasised God’s blessings in the quote 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 Dun Mikiel Azzopardi to work on founding a home for persons with disability and for the last 55 years the residents found a home that respected their rights and dignity. He thanked all the carers, workers and volunteers who for the last 10 pandemic months have been protecting and caring for the residents and keeping them safe.
Mgr. Scicluna referred to the pandemic situation and said that taking the vaccine was not obligatory but was also a duty as a sign that we, as citizens, are capable of taking care of ourselves and of each other.
The Archbishop celebrated Mass on the feast of Mary, Mother of God at the Home’s Chapel. He was assisted by Mgr. Charles Cordina, Episcopal Vicar for Diaconia and Fr Trevor Fairclough, Spiritual Director of the Home.
Today is another big day for Maltese solidarity with Dar tal-Providenza when “Festa ta’ Ġenerożità” takes centre stage as the major annual fund-raiser for the Home. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic situation we are 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 is happening at the Home’s Siġġiewi car park except for a ‘drive-through’ where persons wanting to make a donation may do so without getting out of their car.
The important fundraising aspect of “Festa ta’ Ġenerożità” including appeals, telephone and on-line donations will be done at the We studios in Qormi between noon and midnight.

103 Malta’s Heart raises €32,441 for Dar tal-Providenza

A record €32,441 were raised for Dar tal-Providenza during a 30-hour music marathon on 103 Malta’s Heart well exceeding last year’s sum of €12,710. The final sum was announced by Fr Martin Micallef, director of Dar tal-Providenza.
The marathon kicked off at 6am on Wednesday 30 December, with Arthur Caruana accompanied by two other well known presenters Ron Briffa and Ian Busuttil Naudi and Jes Saliba.
At various times of the music marathon there were messages of support and appeals for much needed funds. Amongst them were those from Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna, Gozo Bishop Anton Teuma, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi, the Superintendent of Public Health, Prof. Charmaine Gauci and Fr Martin Micallef, Director of the Home.
The team expressed their satisfaction at the show of solidarity especially in such a year dominated by the pandemic.
Tomorrow is another big day for Maltese solidarity with Dar tal-Providenza when “Festa ta’ Ġenerożità” takes centre stage as the major annual fund-raiser for the Home. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic situation we are 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 is happening at the Home’s Siġġiewi car park except for a ‘drive-through’ where persons wanting to make a donation may do so without getting out of their car.
The important fundraising aspect of “Festa ta’ Ġenerożità” including appeals, telephone and on-line donations will be done at the We studios in Qormi between noon and midnight.

30-hour Music Marathon on 103 Malta’s Heart for Dar tal-Providenza

As of 6am this morning Arthur Caruana, Ian Busuttil Naudi, Ron Briffa kicked off a 30-hour marathon on 103 Malta’s Heart in aid of Dar tal-Providenza.

For the full 30 hours, Arthur, Ian and Ron will entertain the 103 Malta’s Heart listeners as they will also be accompanied virtually, due to the coronavirus pandemic, by many bands and personalities including the Maltese Bishops.

You can help through various ways

  • You can follow 103 Malta’s Heart LIVE on 103.mt/103-player
  • Donate on https://www.dartalprovidenza.org/make-a-donation/
  • Phone on 5160 2012 and donate €10 (VO 1066)
  • Phone on 5180 2014 and donate €25 (VO 1066)
  • Send an SMS on 5061 8922 to donate €7(VO 1066)

Last year Arthur presented a 30-hour marathon which netted in almost €13,000 for id-Dar tal-Providenza.

Financial contribution from Lidl Malta

Id-Dar tal-Providenza together with Caritas Malta and Hospice Malta received between them a financial contribution of over €10,000 from Lidl Malta. In addition, the Company made a further donation of €6,000 worth of products that was divided between another two entities, The Malta Food Bank Foundation and the Victory Kitchen.

Lidl Malta, the leading retail chain on the Maltese islands, has decided to donate its annual budget allocated to the festive, ‘End of Year Dinner’ to charitable organizations instead. In order to do so, the Company left it up to their team members to decide who to donate their ‘End of Year Dinner’ budget to.

“All workers and a volunteer of Dar tal-Providenza recognised with the Premju Dun Mikiel Azzopardi in this pandemic year”

All workers and volunteer Gordon Hewitt of Dar tal-Providenza were honoured with the Premju Dun Mikiel Azzopardi in recognition for their hard work with and dedication to the residents of the Home during this devastating pandemic year.

During a short ceremony at the Curia in Floriana, Archbishop Mgr Charles J. Scicluna presented the Awards to Nadine Camilleri Cassano, Administrator of the Home and Marieanne Abdilla and Rebecca Theuma who represented all the workers. The Archbishop thanked the Home workers for their dedication and care for the residents. He also found time to call and congratulate volunteer Gordon Hewitt who is at the St. Vincent De Paule Residence. Gordon, who was very emotional talking to the Archbishop, was later received the award from Fr Ivan Scicluna, chaplain of the Residence.

The Dar tal-Providenza employees, total just under 300. These workers are distributed at Villa Monsinjur Gonzi, Villa Papa Giovanni and Villa Papa Luciani in Siġġiewi as well as in homes in the communities of Siġġiewi, Qawra, Birkirkara and Żurrieq.

Dar tal-Providenza employees awarded the Premju Dun Mikiel Azzopardi 2020

This year, as appropriate, the Dun Mikiel Azzopardi Award is to be given to all Dar tal-Providenza employees as a sign of gratitude and recognition for their dedication and extraordinary work done during the past hard months of the Covid-19 pandemic to keep the residents and their colleagues safe from the virus.

The Dun Mikiel Azzopardi Award, that was launched in 1995, recognises the work done by individuals as well as groups in helping out persons with disability as well as shows appreciation towards those that provide voluntary support to the work done at Dar tal-Providenza.

For all the Dar tal-Providenza employees, the year 2020 was neither normal nor easy but rather a year full of great challenges brought about by the pandemic. Who would have thought that the year that started with the Festa ta’ Ġenerożità on January 1st would turn into a year of such a destructive virus. This was really a year of great challenges but also a year that showed the big heart, the determination, the dedication, the creativity and the hard work at the Home. These were, are and will remain the Dar tal-Providenza frontliners and we are all grateful to them.

Since the pandemic broke out in our country, the Home’s Administration right away prepared and implemented contingency measures in agreement with the Social Care Standards Authority (SCSA) and the Health Authorities to ensure the wellbeing of the residents as well as of all the employees of the Home. Both in the first shutdown we experienced from March 9th to the end of May as well as the so-called second wave, our workers gave their all, without any exception, to follow these measures even though a lot of times this meant personal sacrifice more than normal. Thanks to the good will and cooperation shown by the workers even through worrying moments, fear and uncertainty, work carried on to everyone’s benefit. There was no lack of creativity either and employees created new activities for the residents who had their communal outings restricted. An effort was also made so that residents remain in continuous contact with their relatives through the use of technology.

The Dar tal-Providenza employees, that total just under 300, include administration staff, support workers, domestic staff, personnel in security and transport, maintenance, laundry, seamstressing, Ability Promoters, stores and the professionists. These workers are employed at Villa Monsinjur Gonzi, Villa Papa Giovanni and Villa Papa Luciani in Siġġiewi as well as in homes in the communities of Siġġiewi, Żurrieq, Qawra and Birkirkara.

Our heartfelt thanks go to all you workers and we are certain that Divine Providence will reward you more than hundredfold.

Gordon Hewitt, volunteer at id-Dar tal-Providenza and winner of the Dun Mikiel Azzopardi Award 2020

Gordon Hewitt, was born on June 16th 1947 and was brought up in Malta in the 1950’s and 60’s by his father who was in the British Army and his Maltese mother. After moving back to the United Kingdom, Gordon had his education first at St. George’s College run by Roman Catholic priests and then at the Catholic University College of St Mary’s.

On graduating in 1970, Gordon returned to St. George’s College where he taught Geography and the sport of cricket and Rugby Football. He ended up as a first-class cricketer and a Rugby Union international referee.

After 19 years, in 1989 Gordon had to take early retirement to look after his mother Sylvia who was seriously ill.

After she died, Gordon got married to Angie Aronica in 1994 and in the year 2000 they moved to Malta and settled in the village Żebbuġ. Once settled in, Gordon and Angie started volunteering at Dar tal-Providenza that they used to refer to as “our 2nd Home” They used to attend five days a week and used to refer to it as “the happiest place in Malta, where everyone smiles.” Sadly, Angie, died of a tender age, however Gordon volunteered on at the Home working closely with residents with a persistent commitment until his health permitted.

Most of Mr Hewitt’s daily work involved taking out residents around the gardens of Dar tal-Providenza and was very active in various activities organized for residents both inside as well as outside the Siġġiewi Home. We especially mention his involvement in drama and other main activities throughout the year. The last play he took part in with the residents was “Il-Presepju tan-Nannu” that took place at the Catholic Institute in Floriana a year ago. Mr Hewitt was also the one who suggested the name of St. Isidore for the Agricultural Centre at Dar tal-Providenza in Siġġiewi where during the week residents preserved aromatic herbs which were then sold to the general public. Every year, he saw to it that a mass is celebrated in the Home’s chapel on the occasion of the feast of St. Isidore, the patron saint of farmers, when residents who worked at the Centre were invited and participated.

Gordon says that the best gift you can give to anyone is to give your time to him or her. This is exactly what Gordon used to do with the residents of Dar tal-Providenza until a few months ago when his health did not permit him to. He built a nice rapport of a sincere friendship with a lot of persons with disability who will surely treasure it throughout their lives.

Gordon also used to volunteer his time with the refugees at the Laboratorju tal-Paċi in Ħal Far.

Ahmadiyya Community visits Dar tal-Providenza

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Malta visited Dar tal-Providenza in Siġġiewi and presented gift hampers for the residents and for the staff members on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disability and ahead of the festive season.

Imam Laiq Ahmed Atif, President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Malta, together with Haroon Ahmad Khan, the youth leader, presented the gift hampers to Ms. Nadine Camilleri Cassano, Administrator of Dar tal-Providenza.

Laiq Ahmed Atif said that: We believe that serving humanity is a very noble cause. Serving humanity is itself a form of worship of the Merciful God. While mentioning the qualities of the virtuous believers, Allah the Almighty says in the Holy Quran that, ‘the virtuous believers feed, for love of God, the poor, the orphan, and the prisoner. Assuring them that: ‘We feed you to win Allah’s pleasure only. We desire no reward or thanks from you’. (76:9-10)

On behalf of the residents, Ms. Camilleri Cassano thanked the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for this nice gesture of solidarity. She also briefed them about the services being provided at the residence in a year that was, and still is really difficult due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fr Martin Micallef & Anġela Agius amongst winners of Premju Soċjetà Ġusta 2020

A Company and five persons, amongst them Fr Martin Micallef, Director of Dar tal-Providenza, and Angela Agius, a hearing impaired person who stands up for other people with disabilities, were awarded this year’s Premju Soċjetà Ġusta.

Those recognised for their work in the disability sector were:

  • Marchita Magiafico, Award for her work in the strengthening of the Rights of Persons with Disability;
  • Jake Vella, Award for Active Participation in Sport, Arts and Culture;
  • Anġela Agius awarded with the Premju Soċjetà Ġusta 2020;
  • Ecabs, Award for the place of work that operates in an inclusive manner;
  • Fr Martin Micallef for his lifelong commitment to the Disability Sector

Dr George Grech given National Award for Voluntary Service 2020

Dr George Grech was given the National Award for Voluntary Service 2020. For over 15 years, Dr Grech provided free medical care to the residents of Dar tal-Providenza and was also the brains behind the therapeutic pool at the Home.

On behalf of the residents, Management, support workers and carers, employees and volunteers, Fr Martin Micallef, Director of the Home, congratulated Dr Grech for this merited award that is definitely a great honour for him as well as for Dar tal-Providenza which is so close to his heart.

The National Award recognizes the services of volunteers and voluntary organisations within the community, creates awareness on exemplary values and identifies models for youths and society, while recognizing also the important contributions in various sectors.

Pope Francis on the International Day for Persons with Disability

Message that the Holy Father Francis sent on the occasion of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, which occurs today, Tuesday 3 December, and which this year has as its theme: Better rebuilding: towards a post Covid-19 world inclusive of disability, accessible and sustainable:

Message from the Holy Father

Dear brothers and sisters!
The celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an opportunity, this year, to express my closeness to all those who are experiencing situations of particular difficulty in this pandemic crisis. We are all in the same boat in the middle of a rough sea that can scare us; but in this boat some struggle more, and among them people with severe disabilities.

This year’s theme is ” Better rebuilding: towards a post-Covid-19 world inclusive of disability, accessible and sustainable “. I am struck by the expression “rebuild better”. It makes us think of the Gospel parable of the house built on rock or sand (cf. Mt 7 : 24-27; Lk 6 : 47-49). Therefore I take this precious opportunity to share some reflections, starting from that parable.

1. The threat of the throwaway culture
In the first place, the “rain, the” rivers “and the” winds “that threaten the home can be identified with the throwaway culture, widespread in our time (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium [EG] , 53). For it, «certain parts of humanity seem expendable for the benefit of a selection that favors a human sector worthy of living without limits. After all, people are no longer felt as a primary value to be respected and protected, especially if they are poor or disabled “(Enc. Fratelli tutti [FT] , 18).
This culture especially affects the most fragile categories, including people with disabilities. In the last fifty years, important steps have been taken, at the level of both civil institutions and ecclesial realities. Awareness of the dignity of each person has grown, and this has led to courageous choices for the inclusion of those who experience physical or / and psychological limitations. Yet, on a cultural level, there are still too many expressions that in fact contradict this orientation. There are attitudes of rejection that, also due to a narcissistic and utilitarian mentality, lead to marginalization, not considering that, inevitably, fragility belongs to everyone. In reality, there are people with even serious disabilities who, even with difficulty, have found the path to a good and meaningful life, as there are many other “able-bodied” ones, who are nevertheless dissatisfied, or sometimes desperate. “Vulnerability belongs to the essence of man” (cf. Address at the Conference “Catechesis and people with disabilities” , 21 October 2017).
Therefore it is important, especially on this Day, to promote a culture of life which continually affirms the dignity of every person, in particular in defense of men and women with disabilities, of all ages and social conditions.

2. The “rock” of inclusion
The pandemic we are experiencing has further highlighted the disparities and inequalities that characterize our time, particularly to the detriment of the weakest. «The virus, while it makes no exceptions among people, has found, in its devastating path, great inequalities and discrimination. And he increased them! ” ( Catechesis in the General Audience of 19 August 2020).
For this reason, a first “rock” on which to build our house is inclusion . Even if this term is sometimes abused, the Gospel parable of the Good Samaritan ( Luke 10 : 25-37) is always relevant. In fact, on the path of life, we often come across the injured person, who sometimes bears the traits of disability and frailty. “The inclusion or exclusion of those who suffer along the way defines all economic, political, social and religious projects. Every day we are faced with the choice of being good Samaritans or indifferent wayfarers who pass at a distance “( FT , 69).

Inclusion should be the “rock” on which to build the programs and initiatives of civil institutions so that no one, especially those who are most in difficulty, is excluded. The strength of a chain depends on the care given to the weakest links.
As regards ecclesial institutions, I reiterate the need to prepare suitable and accessible tools for the transmission of the faith. I also hope that these will be made available to those who need them as free as possible, including through new technologies, which have proved so important for everyone in this pandemic period. Likewise, I encourage ordinary formation for priests, seminarians, religious, catechists and pastoral workers.the relationship with disability and the use of inclusive pastoral tools. Parish communities are committed to making the faithful grow in the style of welcoming people with disabilities. Creating a fully accessible parish requires not only the removal of architectural barriers, but above all attitudes and actions of solidarity and service, on the part of parishioners, towards people with disabilities and their families. The goal is that we come to speak no longer of “them”, but only of “us”.

3. The “rock” of active participation
To “rebuild” our society better, the inclusion of the most fragile subjects must also include the promotion of their active participation.
First of all, I strongly reaffirm the right of persons with disabilities to receive the sacraments like all other members of the Church. All the liturgical celebrations of the parish should be accessible so that each, together with the brothers and sisters, can deepen, celebrate and live their faith. Special attention is to be given to people with disabilities who have not yet received the sacraments of Christian initiation: they could be accepted and included in the catechetical process in preparation for these sacraments. The grace of which they are bearers cannot be precluded to anyone.

“By virtue of the Baptism received, every member of the People of God has become a missionary disciple. Each baptized person, whatever his function in the Church and the degree of education of his faith, is an active subject of evangelization. “(EG,120). Therefore, also people with disabilities, in society as in the Church, ask to become active subjects pastoral care, and not just recipients. “Many people with disabilities feel they exist without belonging and without participating. There are still many things that prevent them from full citizenship. The goal is not only to assist them, but their active participation in the civil and ecclesial community. It is a demanding and also tiring journey, which will contribute more and more to forming consciences capable of recognizing everyone as a unique and unrepeatable person. ( FT,98). In fact, the active participation in catechesis of people with disabilities constitutes a great wealth for the life of the whole parish. In fact, grafted into Christ in Baptism, they share with him, in their particular condition, the priestly, prophetic and royal ministry, evangelizing through, with and in the Church.

Therefore, even the presence of people with disabilities among catechists, according to their own abilities, represents a resource for the community. In this sense, their formation should be encouraged, so that they can acquire a more advanced preparation also in the theological and catechetical fields. I hope that more and more, in parish communities, people with disabilities will be able to become catechists, to transmit the faith effectively, also with their own testimony (cf. Speech at the Conference “Catechesis and people with disabilities” , 21 October 2017).
“Worse than this crisis, there is only the drama of wasting it” (Homily on the Solemnity of Pentecost, May 31, 2020). For this I encourage those who, every day and often in silence, spend themselves in favour of situations of fragility and disability. May the common will to “rebuild better” trigger synergies between both civil and ecclesial organizations, to build, against all bad weather, a solid “home”, capable of welcoming even people with disabilities, because it is built on the rock of inclusion and active participation.

Rome, San Giovanni in Laterano, 3 December 2020