“Dar tal-Providenza is God’s sign of love” – Bishop Anton Teuma

The Bishop of Gozo, H.G. Mgr. Anton Teuma described Dar tal-Providenza as a sign of God’s love. He was paying his first visit to the Siġġiewi Home since becoming Bishop of the Gozo Diocese in August 2020. He concelebrated mass in the Home’s chapel together with the Director, Fr Martin Micallef.

In his homily, Bishop Teuma said that Dar tal-Providenza was not just a demonstration of dedication and love towards its residents but also an example to the Maltese and Gozitans who have continuously supported it financially and with voluntary help that many of them do. He praised and thanked Fr Martin and the Home’s administration, the carers and workers for their unstinted love and care of their residents.

Bishop Teuma met with some of hhe residents and their carers, visited the museum dedicated to Mgr Mikiel Azzopardi, the founder of the Home, as well as his courtyard grave. He was aldo shown around the therapeutic pool used daily by the residents. One of the residents presented the Bishop with a hamper of products prepared by the residents at the St. Isidore Agriculture Centre.

Dar tal-Providenza celebrates the memory of Blanche Mifsud, ex-volunteer of the Home

Dar tal-Providenza celebrates the memory of Mrs Blanche Mifsud who was a volunteer of the Home for many years and who passed away on Wednesday 19th January 2022 at the venerable age of 92. In 2011 she was awarded the Premju Dun Mikiel Azzopardi together with the late Fr Lino Cardona SJ and Mary Versin in recognition of her volontary work.

Mrs Blanche Mifsud was born in Żabbar in 1925. She was married to Kostantino Mifsud and had two children – Stephen and Elena. When she became a widower in 1981, Mrs Mifsud asked Mon. Azzopardi, who was her brother-in-law, whether she could help out at Dar tal-Providenza.  Since then, and for many long years she volunteered twice a week at the Bazaar until she retired.

May she rest in peace.

A big thank you from Dar tal-Providenza

“Once again the people of Malta and Gozo have shown their generosity towards Dar tal-Providenza by donating €1,409,085. Funds that will help the Home to continue providing the best residential services to a hundred and fifteen persons with disability that live in the Siġġiewi Home or its other community homes.” This was said by Fr Martin Micallef, Director of the Home, at the end of a twelve hour televised marathon. He continued by auguring that the solidarity shown towards Dar tal-Providenza on the first day of the new year will continue throughout the year with all those in our society who need support.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic situation the country is in, nothing happened at the Home’s Siġġiewi car park except for a ‘drive-through’ where persons wanting to make a donation did so without alighting from their car.

The important fundraising aspect of TV Marathon including appeals, telephone and on-line donations were done at the WE Media 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, the Leader of the Opposition and Mrs Grech and, through Skype, Gozo Bishop Anton Teuma. Also present were Ministers and Members of Parliament from both sides of the House, delegations representing the main political parties, various personalities and representatives of constituted bodies who also took time to answer the phones.

After a pause of two years, the auction of works of art donated by various Maltese and foreign artists was held online and raised the sum of €28,605.

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.

In the morning, Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna celebrated Mass in the Home’s chapel on the first day of the year dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and the World Day for Peace. He was assisted by Mgr. Charles Cordina, Episcopal Vicar for Diaconia, Fr Martin Micallef, Director of Dar tal-Providenza, Fr Trevor Fairclough, Spiritual Director, and Fr Josef Mifsud, Archpriest of Siġġiewi.

In his homily, the Archbishop said that at the beginning of a new year, he wanted to convey his greetings to all with the same words that the Lord passed on to Moses. “May the Lord lift his face toward you and give you peace.” He said that the Lord’s look at us is one of love because love and mercy go hand in hand. How nice it would be if we were to teach ourselves to pray for the Lord’s protection. We also pray to him to give us wisdom so that we can find the true peace.

Mgr Scicluna augured that the choices we make during this new year would be the right ones because what good is there in recreation that we think would fulfill our heart’s desires: drugs in all their forms, abuse of alcohol and other choices that alienate us for a little while and do nothing but harm?

May we all make the right choices this year

At the start of a new year, Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna wanted to convey his greetings to all with the same words that the Lord passed on to Moses. “May the Lord lift his face toward you and give you peace.” The Archbishop was concelebrating mass in the chapel at Dar tal-Providenza on new year’s day dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God  and the World Day for Peace. He was assisted by the Episcopal Vicar for Diacony, Mgr. Charles Cordina, Fr Martin Micallef, Director of the Home, Fr Trevor Fairclough, Spiritual Director and Fr Josef Mifsud, Archpriest of Siġġiewi.

Archbishop Scicluna said that the Lord’s look at us is one of love because love and mercy go hand in hand. How nice would it be if we were to teach ourselves to pray for the Lord’s protection. We also pray to him to give us wisdom so that we can find the true peace.

Mgr Scicluna augured that the choices we make during this new year would be the right ones because what good is there in recreation that we think would fulfill our heart’s desires: drugs in all their forms, abuse of alcohol and other choices that alienate us for a little while and do nothing but harm.

He appealed to all Maltese to be generous once again with Dar tal-Providenza that cares with so much love and dedication for the persons with disability residents of the Home.

The Festa ta’ Ġenerożità is being broadcast live on all local TV stations between noon and midnight from the WE Media studios in Qormi. For the convenience of the public a drive-through has been set up in the Home’s parking lot in Siġġiewi allowing donations to be made without the need to alight from the car.

Photo: Archdiocese of Malta

103 Malta’s Heart raises €22,630 for Dar tal-Providenza

€22,630 were raised for Dar tal-Providenza during a 30-hour music marathon on 103 Malta’s Heart.

The marathon kicked off at 6am on Thursday 30 December, with Arthur Caruana accompanied by two other well known presenters Ron Briffa and Ian Busuttil Naudi. Arthur expressed his satisfaction at the show of solidarity through the sum raised and thanked all the listeners for their donations.

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 and Fr Martin Micallef, Director of the Home.

One can make a donation by using the various facilities outlined hereunder.

€10         5160 2012

€15         5170 2013

€25         5180 2014

€50         5190 2085

€100       5130 2022

SMS €7   5061 8922

BOV Mobile  7932 4834

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

One can also make a donation by cheque and send it to Id-Dar tal-Providenza, Lapsi Road, Siġġiewi  SGW2822. However, a directive of the Central Bank of Malta says that cheques for €20 or less are not allowed and will not be cashed by the banks.

Other donations can be made at Dar tal-Providenza’s office in St. Paul Street, Valletta right behind the old market Tuesday to Saturday between 9.00am and 12.00pm, at the Paola Catholic Bookshop as well as in Rabat’s main square in Malta.

 

National Award for the Worker of the Year 2021

The workers at Dar Pirotta in Birkirkara and flat San Ġużepp in Siġġiewi were Dar tal-Providenza’s nominees for the Award for Team of the Year in a ceremony during which awards were given to six individuals, three organisations and a team.

The ceremony of the National Award for the Worker of the Year 2021 took place on the 20th December under the distinguished patronage of H.E. Dr George Vella, President of Malta. In an address for the occasion, Dr Vella said that this activity is a very special one not only because various prizes were distributed but above all because it celebrates the hard work and the important role that work has in man’s life. He mentioned the various challenges and repercussions that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the work place and to the encouragement of entrepreneurship.

The Award for the Worker of the Year 2021 went to Roseanne Camilleri, Chief Executive of Primary Health Care.

MEP Alex Agius Saliba pays a visit to Dar tal-Providenza

Earlier this month, MEP Alex Agius Saliba paid a visit to Dar tal-Providenza. He was welcomed by Fr Martin Micallef, Director, and Mrs Nadine Camilleri Cassano, Administrator of the Home. He had the opportunity to meet and share a chat with some of the residents and their carers and see for himself some of the services the Home provides such as the aquatherapy pool, the multisensorial rooms, the kitchen and laundry.

Mr Agius Saliba described Dar tal-Providenza as a unique project of solidarity in our country. In a Facebook post he encouaged all those that can to help out this Home that does so much good in our society.

Resident Krisstian Gregory presented him with a hamper of products made by residents attending the St. Isidore Agriculture Centre

Message by Pope Francis on International Day for Persons with Disabilities

“You are my friends” (Jn 15:14)

Dear brothers and sisters!
As we celebrate your International Day, I would like to speak directly to all of you who live with any condition of disability, to tell you that the Church loves you and needs each of you for the fulfilment of her mission at the service of the Gospel.

Jesus, our friend

Jesus is our friend! That is what he told his disciples at the Last Supper (cf. Jn 15:14). His words also speak to us; they shed ligħt on the mystery of our close relationship to him as members of his Church. “Friendship with Jesus cannot be broken. He never leaves us, even thougħ at times it appears that he keeps silent. When we need him, he makes himself known to us; he remains at our side wherever we go” (Christus Vivit, 154). We Christians have received a gift: access to the heart of Jesus and friendship with him. It is a privilege and a blessing, and it becomes our vocation: we are called to be friends of Jesus!

Having Jesus as a friend is an immense consolation. It can turn each of us into a grateful and joyful disciple, one capable of showing that our frailties are no obstacle to living and proclaiming the Gospel. In fact, a trusting and personal friendship with Jesus can serve as the spiritual key to accepting the limitations that all of us have, and thus to be at peace with them. This in turn can lead to a joy that “fills hearts and lives” (Evangelii Gaudium, 1), since, as a great exegete has written, friendship with Jesus is “a spark that kindles the fire of enthusiasm”. [1]

The Church is your home

Baptism makes each one of us a full-fledged member of the Church community, so that all of us, without exclusion or discrimination, can say: “I am Church!” The Church is truly your home! We, all of us together, are Church, because Jesus chose to be our friend. The Church – and this is something we need to learn more and more in the synodal process we have begun – “is not a community of people who are perfect, but a community of disciples on a journey, who follow the Lord because they know they are sinners and in need of his forgiveness” ( Catechesis, 13 April 2016). In this people which, guided by God’s word, advances amid the events of history, “everyone has a part to play; no one is a mere extra” ( Address to the Faithful of Rome, 18 September 2021). For this reason, each of you is also called to make his or her own contribution to the synodal journey. I am convinced that, if it truly becomes “a participative and inclusive ecclesial process” [2], the Church community will be genuinely enriched.

Sad to say, even today many of you “are treated as foreign bodies in society”; you can “feel that [you] exist without belonging and without participating” and that “much still prevents [you] from being fully enfranchised” (Fratelli Tutti, 98). Discrimination continues to be all too present at various levels of society; it feeds on prejudice, ignorance and a culture that finds it hard to appreciate the inestimable value of each person. In particular, the continuing tendency to regard disabilities – which are the result of the interaction between social barriers and each person’s limitations – as if they were a kind of disease, contributes to keeping your lives separate and stigmatizing you.

As far as the Church’s life is concerned, “the worst form of discrimination… is the lack of spiritual care” (Evangelii Gaudium, 200). Sometimes, as certain of you have unfortunately experienced, this has taken the form of denying access to the sacraments. The Church’s magisterium is very clear in this area, and recently the Directory for Catechesis stated explicitly that “no one can deny the sacraments to persons with disabilities” (No. 272). When we experience such discrimination, it is precisely our friendship with Jesus, that all of us have received as an undeserved gift, which redeems us and enables us to perceive differences as a treasure. For Jesus does not call us servants, women and men of lesser dignity, but friends: confidants worthy of knowing all that he has received from the Father (cf. Jn 15:15).

In times of hardship

Jesus’ friendship protects us in moments of difficulty. I am well aware that the Covid-19 pandemic, from which we are struggling to emerge, continues to have grave repercussions on many of your lives. I think, for example, of your being forced to stay at home for long periods of time; the difficulty experienced by many students with disabilities in accessing aids to distance learning; the lengthy interruption of social care services in a good number of countries; and many other hardships that you have had to face. Above all, I think of those of you who live in residential facilities and the pain of forced separation from your loved ones. In those places, the virus hit hard and, despite the dedication of caretakers, it has taken all too many lives. Know that the Pope and the Church are especially close to you, with love and affection!

The Church stands beside those of you who are still struggling with the Coronavirus. As always, she insists that everyone be provided with treatment, and that disabilities not prevent access to the best care available. In this regard, some Episcopal Conferences, such as that of England and Wales [3], and the United States, [4] have already intervened to demand respect for the rigħt of everyone, without discrimination, to medical care.

The Gospel is for everyone

Our vocation arises from our friendship with the Lord. He has chosen us to bear much fruit, fruit that will remain (cf. Jn 15:16). As the true vine, he wants every branch, in union with him, to bear fruit. Yes, Jesus wants us to attain “the happiness for which we were created. He wants us to be saints and not to settle for a bland and mediocre existence” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 1)

The Gospel is also for you! Its message is addressed to everyone; it is a word of consolation and, at the same time, a summons to conversion. The Second Vatican Council, in speaking of the universal call to holiness, teaches that “all the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status, are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity… In order that the faithful may reach this perfection, they must use their strength accordingly as they have received it, as a gift from Christ… They must devote themselves with all their being to the glory of God and the service of their neigħbor” (Lumen Gentium, 40).

The Gospels show that whenever persons with disabilities met Jesus, their lives changed profoundly, and they became his witnesses. Such was the case, for example, of the man blind from birth who, after being healed by Jesus, boldly declared to everyone that Jesus was a prophet (cf. Jn 9:17). Many others joyfully proclaimed what the Lord had done for them.

I know that some of you live in situations that are not easy. I would like to speak personally to each of you, and I ask that, if necessary, your family members or those closest to you read my words to you, or convey my appeal. I ask you to pray. The Lord listens attentively to the prayers of those who trust in him. No one should say: “I don’t know how to pray”, because, as the Apostle says, “the Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ougħt, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings” (Rom 8:26). In the Gospels, Jesus always listens to those who turn to him, however haltingly, even with a small sign (cf. Lk 8:44) or a cry for help (cf. Mk 10:47). Prayer is a mission, a mission accessible to everyone, and I would like to entrust that mission in a particular way to you. There is no one so frail that he or she cannot pray, worship the Lord, give glory to his holy Name and intercede for the salvation of the world. In the sigħt of the Almigħty, we come to realize that we are all equal.

Dear brothers and sisters, today your prayers are more urgently needed than ever before. Saint Teresa of Avila wrote that “at times of difficulty, God’s friends need to be strong in order to support those who are weak”. [5] This time of pandemic has clearly shown us that we are all weak and vulnerable: “We have realized that we are all on the same boat, fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed; all of us are called to row together”. [6] The primary way to do so is precisely by praying. This is something each of us can do; and even if, like Moses, we will have need of support (cf. Ex 17:10), we are confident that the Lord will hear our plea.
To all of you I send my prayerful greetings and good wishes. May the Lord bless you, and may Our Lady watch over you always.

Rome, Saint John Lateran, 20 November 2021
Francis

[1] Rudolf Schnackenburg, Amicizia con Gesù, Brescia 2007, p. 68. [The Friend We Have in Jesus, Westminster John Knox Press, 1997]
[2] Synod of bishops, Preparatory Document. For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission, No. 2.
[3] Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Coronavirus and Access to Treatment, 20 April 2020.
[4] USCCB – Public Affairs Office, Statement on Rationing Protocols by Health Care Professionals in Response to COVID-19, 3 April 2020.
[5] Autobiography, 15, 5.
[6] Extraordinary Moment of Prayer during the Pandemic, 27 March 2020.

Id-Dar tal-Providenza 2022 Diary distributed

The pocket diary of Id-Dar tal-Providenza for 2022 has been distributed by Maltapost in every household in Malta and Gozo. This diary, with its information that is useful throughout the whole year, provides an opportunity for a show of solidarity with the Home that offers residency with the right environment to around one hundred and fifteen persons with disability so that they can foster their personal growth to the fullest.

As in previous years, the diary includes the very useful timetable for daily and Sunday masses in all churches and chapels in Malta and Gozo and a detailed calendar. A list highlighting all the parish feasts in these islands for 2022 is also included. The coloured photo on the front page depicting the ‘Tal-Grazzja’ valley on the way from Rabat to Marsalforn is by photographer Ian Noel Pace.

Those who have not received their copy are kindly requested to call reception at Id-Dar tal-Providenza on 2146 2844 or email on info@dartalprovidenza.org.

MAPFRE MSV Life and GasanMamo Insurance sponsored the printing of the diary whilst Maltapost has again agreed to distribute the diaries free of charge.

Malta’s Parliament hosts Arts Exhibition in aid of Dar tal-Providenza

After an absence of two years, an exhibition of 106 works of art donated by 84 Maltese and foreign artists was inaugurated at the Parliament entrance. These works of art will be auctioned off in aid of Dar tal-Providenza on January 1st as part of the televised Festa ta’ Ġenerożità.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr Anġlu Farrugia, officially opened the exhibition. In his address, he said that although Dar tal-Providenza goes back a full fifty-six years, it is today a living experience of our people and our nation rather than a story of our past. Maltese and Gozitans have a heart sensitive to those in need. This conscience that favours social solidarity grows bigger and stronger as long as we keep Dar tal-Providenza as a life experience with which we help persons with disability live in dignity.

The Director of the Home, Fr Martin Micallef, thanked the Speaker for once again agreeing to host the exhibition in the Parliament’s entrance, a truly central and accessible location for the public in Valletta. With the full support of Dr Farrugia it can be said that the exhibition has become an annual event except for the last two years when it had to be cancelled due to the realities of COVID-19.

The exhibition, that will remain open till December 26th, is open to the public between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday and between 9.00am and 12.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays. One can view the exhibits by presenting his/her Identity Card and the Vaccine Certificate. The catalogue of all the works of art as well as more information on the auction may be accessed online on www.dtpauction.com or www.belgraviaauctions.com.

On new year’s day, Festa ta’ Ġenerożità in aid of Dar tal-Providenza will again be televised on all local stations between noon and midnight. The telethon will be broadcast from the We studios in Qormi where a number of guests will be manning the phones and taking donations. As in every year, Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna will celebrate mass that is broadcast live on PBS at 9.30am from the Home’s chapel.