Gino Parnis studied, graduated and became a pharmacist, but seven years ago he abandoned to become a sexton in the Basilica of Senglea.
We spoke to Gino who told us that while many were shocked that he gave up a career for which he worked very hard, he wants to continue working as a sacristan in the basilica of Senglea for the rest of his life.
Gino told TVM that the work of a sacristan and even curator of the basilica is not just a job but essentially, a passion.
Gino has wonderful memories of his childhood spend in the parish church of Senglea, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and has always felt a great attraction to the artistic beauty of this church.
When he was a student and until he graduated as a pharmacist, Gino says that he still spent a lot of time at church as a volunteer, where he knew every corner, every artifact in the church, and above all its history: a church which was almost completely destroyed during the second war and rebuilt by the people of Senglea.
Gino says that those close to him were shocked when he decided to ditch his career as a pharmacist to work as a sacristan. “Some people asked me whether I had hit my head – why would I go and work in a church otherwise? But I grew up here, after school I always come here, in the morning I don’t feel like I’ve come to work, because I’m surrounded by the things I love. ”
Gino feels very honoured to work in a basilica renowned for its great artistic heritage. Gino says that work in the basilica, not only during the feast of the Virgin Mary, but also because of its devotion to the Redeemer, is a strong commitment, which would not be carried out without the help of a large number of volunteers.
“Without the volunteers we wouldn’t manage; we have cleaners, others who install, currently we are working on the roof painting project, and since the beginning of summer we are preparing for the feast of Our Lady of Victories.”
Currently Basilica is commemorating the centenary of the coronation of the statue of the Child that was found at the bottom of the sea. We asked Gino if he thinks that in the future he will practice the profession of pharmacist again. “Many ask me to go to work with them. I spend 11 years working as a pharmacist tbut no, now I’m here, I belong to this church and I consider the church mine.”