“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

Another ‘Festa ta’ Ġenerożità’ towards Id-Dar Tal-Providenza on New Year’s Day

This New Year’s day ‘Festa ta’ Ġenerożità’ will be held very differently in order to safeguard the safety of its residents and workers but because of the COVID-19 pandemic is the most important one ever organised. In order to be in line with the directives issued by the Health authorities the event will be broadcast from the We studios in Qormi. Only those answering the telephones and invited guests will be allowed in. As in the past, ‘Festa ta’ Ġenerożità’ will be aired on local TV stations between noon and midnight. At 9.30am, TVM2 will broadcast a live Mass from the Home’s chapel which will be celebrated by Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna.

Details were given on the 25th edition of the Feast of Generosity which is organised primarily to raise funds so that id-Dar tal-Providenza can continue to provide and improve on the services it offers. Mrs Nadine Camilleri Cassano, the Home’s administrator and Mr Jesmond Saliba, Board member gave the details during a press conference held this morning (Tuesday, 1st December 2020).

From a financial aspect since March of this year all planned fund-raising activities were cancelled including the Volleyball Marathon and various concerts. Special family occasions like anniversaries and birthdays used to be organised by way of lunches, dinners or receptions were guests were invited to donate money for Dar tal-Providenza instead of buying gifts. These obviously could not happen and the loss of income from such occasions meant financial loss for the Home. However, a big thank you goes to all those that despite the pandemic situation still made such donations to the Home.

To continue improving the quality of life of its residents as well as the services it offers, Dar tal-Providenza invests every year in human resources, purchasing of new equipment, maintenance work as well as capital projects to continue introducing more homes in the community. Despite the financial limitations, the Home did not put a hold on certain projects and other initiatives.
Dar tal-Providenza had to bear unexpected expenses that amounted to around $90,000 becase of contingency measures that had to be taken to safeguard the health and safety of its residents and workers. Notwithstanding the pandemic restrictions every effort was made to see that the life of residents would be as positive as possible.

On January 1st, the public wishing to make a donation will be able to do so by using the telephone numbers that appear on the TV screens. Those who prefer to make a pledge will also be able to call on a special number and make their pledge for the amount they wish to. Later they can send in their donations online or by mail.

As from today until January 1st, one can make a donation by using the various facilities outlined hereunder. All donations between now and the new year will be included in the final tally at the end of the marathon.
€10 51602012
€15 51702013
€25 51802014
€50 51902085
SMS €7 50618922
BOV Mobile 79324834

Paypal or bank accounts that Dar tal-Providenza has with the main Banks: APS Bank, BOV, HSBC, Lombark Bank, BNF Bank.
One can also make a donation by cheque and send it to Id-Dar tal-Providenza, Lapsi Road, Siġġiewi SGW2822.

Dar tal-Providenza offers residential services to 115 persons with disability in an environment that respects their rights and dignity. They live in three residencies in the Siġġiewi Home and in the community homes: ’Żerniq’ in Siġġiewi, ’Akkwarell’ in Qawra, ‘Dar Pirotta’ in Birkirkara and ‘Shalom’ in Żurrieq.

Another ‘Festa ta’ Ġenerożità’ towards Id-Dar Tal-Providenza on New Year’s Day

This New Year’s day ‘Festa ta’ Ġenerożità’ will be held very differently in order to safeguard the safety of its residents and workers but because of the COVID-19 pandemic is the most important one ever organised. In order to be in line with the directives issued by the Health authorities the event will be broadcast from the We studios in Qormi. Only those answering the telephones and invited guests will be allowed in. As in the past, ‘Festa ta’ Ġenerożità’ will be aired on local TV stations between noon and midnight. At 9.30am, TVM2 will broadcast a live Mass from the Home’s chapel which will be celebrated by Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna.

Details were given on the 25th edition of the Feast of Generosity which is organised primarily to raise funds so that id-Dar tal-Providenza can continue to provide and improve on the services it offers. Mrs Nadine Camilleri Cassano, the Home’s administrator and Mr Jesmond Saliba, Board member gave the details during a press conference held this morning (Tuesday, 1st December 2020).

From a financial aspect since March of this year all planned fund-raising activities were cancelled including the Volleyball Marathon and various concerts. Special family occasions like anniversaries and birthdays used to be organised by way of lunches, dinners or receptions were guests were invited to donate money for Dar tal-Providenza instead of buying gifts. These obviously could not happen and the loss of income from such occasions meant financial loss for the Home. However, a big thank you goes to all those that despite the pandemic situation still made such donations to the Home.

To continue improving the quality of life of its residents as well as the services it offers, Dar tal-Providenza invests every year in human resources, purchasing of new equipment, maintenance work as well as capital projects to continue introducing more homes in the community. Despite the financial limitations, the Home did not put a hold on certain projects and other initiatives.

Dar tal-Providenza had to bear unexpected expenses that amounted to around $90,000 becase of contingency measures that had to be taken to safeguard the health and safety of its residents and workers. Notwithstanding the pandemic restrictions every effort was made to see that the life of residents would be as positive as possible.

On January 1st, the public wishing to make a donation will be able to do so by using the telephone numbers that appear on the TV screens. Those who prefer to make a pledge will also be able to call on a special number and make their pledge for the amount they wish to. Later they can send in their donations online or by mail.

As from today until January 1st, one can make a donation by using the various facilities outlined hereunder. All donations between now and the new year will be included in the final tally at the end of the marathon.

€10 51602012

€15 51702013

€25 51802014

€50 51902085

SMS €7 50618922

BOV Mobile 79324834

Paypal or bank accounts that Dar tal-Providenza has with the main Banks: APS Bank, BOV, HSBC, Lombark Bank, BNF Bank.

One can also make a donation by cheque and sende it to Id-Dar tal-Providenza, Lapsi Road, Siġġiewi SGW2822.

Dar tal-Providenza offers residential services to 115 persons with disability in an environment that respects their rights and dignity. They live in three residencies in the Siġġiewi Home and in the community homes: ’Żerniq’ in Siġġiewi, ’Akkwarell’ in Qawra, ‘Dar Pirotta’ in Birkirkara and ‘Shalom’ in Żurrieq.

“Be a providence for someone else” – Fr Martin on his birthday

“On my birthday I want to thank God for the gift of life and the numerous graces he gave me during my life. I was brought up in a family with good values, He called me to serve him as a priest, met a lot of people who were an inspiration to me and received from them a lot of love. This year I thank Him in a special way for the healing of cancer.

The nicest gift you can give me for my birthday this year is that any one who can goes to donate blood at the National Blood Transfusion Centre in Gwardamanġa. When I was receiving treatment I needed three bags of blood. In actual fact, more than 30% of blood transfusions are done to patients at the oncology and hematology units. Cancer patient treatments may spread over a few years and, amongst others, this includes transfusions of various blood forms. I now know from personal experience what a difference one blood bag can make on the road to recovery from cancer. I also know that right now there is an urgent need of blood. Please don’t think twice and donate blood.

Donating your blood to someone you don’t even know who he or she is is a huge noble gesture. I thank those persons who anonymously gave me blood. The Lord will repay you hundredfold for your act of charity. Donating blood is also a sign of God’s providence. Be a providence for someone else.”

AD MULTOS ANNOS Fr Martin

Dar tal-Providenza bids a final farewell to Fr Lino Cardona SJ

Dar tal-Providenza bids a final farewell to Fr Lino Cardona SJ who has today joined his precious Lord in Heaven at the age of 76.

Fr Lino has been giving his service at Dar tal-Providenza since the summer of 1975 when Dun Mikiel Azzopardi, the founder of the Home, asked him to replace him so that he can go on a short holiday in August. Since then Fr Lino never missed saying mass at Dar tal-Providenza’s chapel every Wednesday and Sunday and also helped out wherever necessary. In 2011, Dar tal-Providenza awarded him the Premju Dun Mikiel in recognition of his voluntrary work at the Home. He was quite close to Dun Mikiel in the final days of his life and had an active part in his funeral and burial arrangements.

Last September, Fr Lino was interviewed on 103FM on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the founding of the Home and he recounted once again the story of how Dun Mikiel Azzopardi, the founder of the Home, was given the first generous donation that was the beginning of Dar tal-Providenza. He said that Dun Mikiel used to describe this first donation as a miracle that kept repeating itself. Fr Lino said that recalled Dun Mikiel describing the first donation as the “first miracle.” He ended his interview by saying that a lot of people benefitted since the Dar tal-Providenza opened its doors and as far as he was concerned the Home is a treasure of the Church in Malta.

We offer our sincere condolences to his brothers of the Jesuit Community in Malta as well as to his relatives.

Lord, grant him eternal rest.

“Id-Dar tal-Providenza goes Disney”

Id-Dar tal-Providenza has organised a stage activity entitled “Id-Dar tal-Providenza Goes Disney” for its residents. The production, based around various Disney characters, was staged between the 19th and 22nd October 2020. In spite of the present situation we are living in, the producers adopted all the protocols outlined by the Health Authorities and under their guidance staged the show on four different days so that residents of the flats stayed in their own bubble without having to mix with others.

The residents certainly appreciated this activity and enjoyed the production that some of the employees of Dar tal-Providenza prepared for them even under these difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Id-Dar tal-Providenza Goes Disney”, was a great experience organised by the Home’s Ability Promoters directed by David Muscat with the help of Loralie Scerri under the supervision of Margaret Vella, together with the Physiotherapy Section. They all showed their singing and animation talents for the benefit of the Home’s residents.

We gratefully thank all those who gave their huge support to this activity especially the companies Louie Noir Academy and Cheeramigos Animation Group who provided the costumes as well as Audio System that provided the LED screens.