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Mon, June 4, 2007
Back home, Maltese feel pride in historic moment
- as reported by the Times...

Tens of thousands of Maltese who would perhaps have liked to be present in Rome for yesterday's historic canonisation of Dun Gorg Preca - the first Maltese to be declared saint - watched the ceremony on television from home instead.

And they were better off, in a way, than those at the Vatican, who got drenched by the rain which pelted down throughout the morning in St Peter's Square.

Paul Brincat expressed the pride in the historic occasion that must have been felt by most of his co-nationals. As they sat in front of the television, he explained the proceedings to his two children who attend daily lessons at the MUSEUM, the organisation set up by St Gorg to teach doctrine and turn the young into good Christians.

Another viewer, Marthese Theuma, said she recalled her late father talking about Dun Gorg and the lessons he used to impart. In particular, she remembered that after setting up the MUSEUM, St Gorg had also launched what is known as the Sajda Muzewmina, a series of public meetings in various locations in a bid to "fish" for lost souls.

Pauline Galea said she watched parts of the ceremony and, although she did not consider herself religious, she felt proud for Malta and the Maltese on seeing the Pope canonise the Valletta-born priest.

"I was proud to see Malta being successful, I was proud of all the Maltese flags in St Peter's Square and I was proud to listen to the head of the Catholic Church speak in Maltese for a considerable length of time," she said.

Although no big screens were set up around the island, some bars tuned their TV sets to the live ceremony for the benefit of patrons.

At the De Paule Band Club in Paola, members gave up their usual football game to watch the canonisation.

Joseph Farrugia said that now that Malta was going to have its own San Gorg, the Church should declare which town or village would be getting the privilege of having the new saint as its patron.

The canonisation is to be marked in London on Saturday 9th June with Mass at Westminster Cathedral at 3.30pm celebrated by Archbishop Paul Cremona and Archbishop Faustino Sainz Munoz together with Maltese concelebrants.

The event was coordinated by Michael Refalo, Malta's High Commissioner in London.