Saint George Preca

9th May

St. George Preca the first canonized Maltese saint, is still affectionately referred to by the Maltese as ‘Dun Ġorġ.’ He was born on the 12th February 1880 and died on the 20th July 1962, so a number of Maltese still remember him and his preaching.
He was born in Valletta but the memory of this saint is bound to the town of Hamrun, where the family moved when George was seven years old. He came from an ordinary middle-class family, his father being a health inspector, his mother a teacher. George was the seventh in a family of nine children. He attended state schools, and like any other boy, he had a normal childhood coloured with some mischievous anecdotes!

His education continued in the Seminary, where he started the course of study for the priesthood. When the date of his ordination was getting close, he became so seriously sick with pulmonary tuberculosis that he was on the verge of death. However he recovered and was ordained priest, continuing to live with only one lung functioning.
‘Dun George’ will be forever linked to the foundation of the Society of Christian Doctrine. His call was that of evangelisation, by preaching, writing, catechizing in a simple way, so that everybody could understand the principles of the Catholic Doctrine. At that time most people were illiterate and uneducated in the Faith. Even owning a Bible was restricted by the Church while teaching Doctrine was reserved for priests.

Dun Gorg moved beyond his time! He befriended a group of young men with whom he spent time in friendship and catechizing. He was inspired to start teaching these young men catechism in a way so that they could teach others, including children.These young men grew in number and this led to the Foundation of the Society of Christian Doctrine known by the Maltese as “Muzew,”  a name coined by one of the early members. It is the Maltese word for ‘museum’  because as the young man said, the place where the early members met, was meant to ‘store’ precious items ~ the Principles of Faith. Later Dun George specified the name to M.U.S.E.U.M, an acronym for the Latin words meaning “Teacher, O that the whole world follows the Gospel.”

Dun George was criticized, initially even ordered to stop the activity. He obeyed and promptly stopped his mission. But a few months later he was given permission to continue. Eventually, a female section also started to form part of the Society. Today the Society has spread beyond the Maltese shores, to Australia, Peru, Sudan, UK, Kenya, Albania. To this day, thousands of Maltese boys and girls continue to receive lessons in Christian Doctrine in preparation for their First Holy Communion and Confirmation while young men and women continue to join the Society of Christian Doctrine.

Let us as parents and guardians not step back and leave the Christian education to educators and catechists but be the first catechists for our children.

  • Acquire a Children’s Bible that is user-friendly for the age of your children. Refer to it frequently
  • Show interest in their catechism lessons, (even when they are online!) Stop and listen to them when you encourage them to narrate their experience of these lessons.
  • Talk to the children about the Gospel they would have heard during Sunday Mass. (Make time to follow Mass online when attending Mass physically is not possible)

Dun George had a deep devotion to the Mystery of Incarnation. This led to the creation of a badge to be worn by the members of the Society. The words on the badge say “Verbum Dei Caro Factum Est” – The Word of God was made Flesh. He started the tradition of the procession with Baby Jesus on Christmas Eve and the handmade Crib that every child takes home for Christmas after their catechism lesson.

Let us make the Infant Jesus more real in our children’s lives. Very often we tend to present Jesus to our children, as a man preaching and working miracles, forgetting that He was a child!
Let us not celebrate Baby Jesus only during Christmas! Talk to children about Jesus as a child. Bring to them the reality that like them Jesus laughed and cried, was happy and sad, was sick sometimes, played with other children,helped at home, prayed to God the Father.
Encourage them to formulate a conversation they would have with the Child Jesus. What would they tell Him?

Family Prayer Time

It was Dun George who so many years ago introduced the Mysteries of Light to be meditated in the Rosary. Pray a chaplet (or more!) from the Mysteries of Light.

Encourage children to address a personal prayer to St. George Preca, ending with “Dun George pray for us”

Teach the children to pray the simple prayers promoted by St. George Preca: “Thank you my Lord and forgive me my Lord” and to Our Lady “ Blessed Virgin Mary, bless me and protect me.”

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Saints of the Church. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the holy life, helping you to connect the saints to daily life in a meaningful way.