|Saint George Preca|
Saint George Preca
|Second Apostle of Malta|
12 February 1880|
|Died||26 July 1962
Santa Venera, Malta
|Venerated 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 society of lay catechists. In Malta, he is 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, later 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 that officially confirmed the Zammit Endrich healing.
On 23 February 2006 during the Vatican consistory, Preca was proclaimed the second Maltese Catholic saint, after Saint Publius. 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.
Statue and 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. 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 have been claims that Preca is the author of these mysteries. In 1957 he wrote five mysteries which he called the Mysteries of Light, which are almost identical.
In 2010, a book was published by 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 grounds".
- "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.
- "Dun Gorg Preca". Newsmakers in 2001. Malta Today. 2001-12-30. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
- Joseph Chetcuti, Queer Mediterranean Memories, 2010
- Gay saints and sinners
- 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)