|Saint George Preca|
|Second Apostle of Malta|
12 February 1880|
|Died||26 July 1962
Santa Venera, Malta
|Honored in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||9 May 2001, Floriana, Malta by Pope John Paul II|
|Canonized||3 June 2007, Vatican City by Pope Benedict XVI|
|Patronage||Malta, Society of Christian Doctrine|
George Preca (in Maltese: Ġorġ Preca) (12 February 1880 – 26 July 1962) was a Maltese Roman Catholic priest who founded the Society of Christian Doctrine,[a] a society of lay catechists. In Malta, he is affectionately known as "Dun Ġorġ" and is popularly referred to as the "Second Apostle of Malta", after Paul of Tarsus. He was canonized on 3 June 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Veneration and cause for canonization
Preca first came to the attention of the Ordinary Congregation of the Cardinals and Bishops of the Congregation for Causes of Saints, which examined the scientifically unexplainable healing of Charles Zammit Endrich in 1964. Zammit Endrich had suffered from a detached retina of the left eye. The healing was declared as miraculous, and was attributed to the intercession of the Preca after Zammit Endrich prayed to him and placed one of the priest's belongings under his pillow. The healing took place outside of a hospital, overseen by the personal doctor of Zammit Endrich, Ċensu Tabone who was later to be appointed President of Malta.
On 24 June 1975, Archbishop Mikiel Gonzi issued a decree initiating the process of Preca's canonization. He was declared "venerable" on 28 June 1999, and on 27 January 2000, Pope John Paul II signed the decree which officially confirmed the Zammit Endrich healing.
On 23 February 2006 during the Vatican consistory, Preca was proclaimed the first Maltese Catholic saint. He was canonized in Rome on 3 June 2007 along with three other new saints. In his homily, Pope Benedict XVI called Saint George Preca "a friend of Jesus", and at the end of the celebration, he spoke in Maltese, saying the newly declared saint is the second father in faith of the Maltese and Gozitan people.
Preca's Statue & Relic
A statue of Preca was unveiled at St Cajetan Parish Church of Ħamrun during a solemn Mass presided by Archbishop Paul Cremona on Thursday 17 December 2009. The statue was placed on the same spot where St George spent hours hearing confession. By the statue there is also his relic with a sample of his blood. Many are those who come to St Cajetan's Parish to ask for his intercession and make their prayers in front of his relic. The bronze statue is the work of sculptor Gianni Bonnici and was executed in Caggiati, Parma, Italy.
In 2002 Pope John Paul II introduced five new mysteries of the rosary known as the Luminous Mysteries. There has been many claims that the author of these mysteries is none other then Father Preca himself. The reason for this is because in 1957 he wrote five mysteries which he called the Mysteries of Light. Theses mysteries of the rosary are very similar to the ones that the Pope had introduced, in fact they are practically the same except for some minor details.
In 2010, a book was published Joseph Chetcuti that made the claim that George Preca had been a (repressed) homosexual but who had nevertheless led a sexually chaste life. However, some arguing against this suggestion claim that the evidence presented is on "tenuous gronuds".
- ^ The Society of Christian Doctrine is commonly referred to by the acronym "MUSEUM", which stands for the Latin "Magister utinam sequatur evangelium universus mundus!", translating to "Master, that the whole world would follow the Gospel!"
- ^ Permanent deacons are deacons that are not candidates for priestly ordination. The purpose that Preca had in mind for the membership of his society would be helping the Maltese bishops in the doctrinal formation of those in their bishoprics.
- ^ For the words of Pope John Paul at the ceremony, see the Vatican press release: In the Footsteps of St. Paul: Papal Visit to Greece, Syria, and Malta. Notably, His Holiness makes parallels to the Society's title (Magister utinam..., etc.) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and refers to Preca as "Malta's second father in faith."
- "Dun Gorg Preca". Newsmakers in 2001. Malta Today. 2001-12-30. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
- "Gorg Preca is officially Malta's first Catholic Saint". MaltaStar. 2007-02-23. Archived from the original on 2007-02-27. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
- Joseph Chetcuti, Queer Mediterranean Memories, 2010
- Gay saints and sinners
- Jones, Terry. "George Preca". Patron Saints Index. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
- Official website of the Society for Christian Doctrine
- An online feature about Father George Preca with emphasis on the most discussed issues of his life
- An interview that appeared in the Telegraph with Dr. Dhawan, the professional who cared for the miraculously healed child
- (Italian) Don Giorgio Preca from L'Osservatore Romano
- (Maltese) L-Arċidjoċesi ta’ Malta (The Archdiocese of Malta)