In churches around Malta and Gozo today St. George Preca is being commemorated – the first Maltese saint and the priest who in his silence brought about a revolution in evangelization and catechism in Malta.
He was a pioneer, because he understood the need for the laity to also be able to convey the word of God, at a time when only priests were teaching doctrine.
Fr Joseph Falzon, Carmelite and Parish priest of the Parish Church of Santa Venera, claimed that his family had been told that he did not have a long life.
“If only they knew how much he was going to work for God and that he lived to be 82 years old.”
St. George became a priest in 1906 and his first holy mass was in St. Cajetan in Hamrun where he dedicated his life to teaching young people.
He founded the Society of Christian Doctrine shortly after becoming a priest and although at first the Church was afraid of any new teachings that might tarnish the Christian tradition, years later, when the Church itself recognized the good of this priest, the houses for Christian teaching began to open in the other in the parishes.
Every Thursday, thousands of people also attended the adoration in the parish of St. Cajetan and his word was followed by everyone.
“The sacristy was always full of people waiting for him, to bless the children, to bless them with some sweets, wreaths and to have a quick word to,” added Fr Falzon.
His humility and great faith led him to become the first Maltese saint in 2007 but he always shied away from popularity, always loved the simple life and never wanted to seek attention.
But his funeral in San Gejtanu l-Ħamrun was a testament to how much he loved this priest.
“It was one of the biggest funerals on our islands. It was so big that it was full of dignitaries and thousands of people . There were a sea of people,” added Fr Falzon.
Dun Ġorġ died on the 26th of July 1962 and his liturgical feast falls on the 9th of May.
His words and teachings will never be forgotten. From a poor life, his life was a model for the priesthood. The traditions he instilled are still with us to this day such as the procession of the Child at Christmas and the evangelization of doctrine by the Society of Christian Doctrine (MUSEUM) which has spread its work even beyond our borders.