Dun Gorg Preca
saint, a Maltese and a priest
Malta was one of the first countries which embraced the Catholic
faith, yet up until the turn of the nineteenth century, the common
people knew nothing about religion beyond basic facts. The bad
went to hell and the good went to heaven, there was God above
and the devil below and much of the rest blurred amidst village
feasts and devotion to the Holy Mary and various saints. Illiteracy
was rampant and mass was said in Latin, a language which was only
comprehensible to members of the clergy and to a select few.
Gorg Preca (1880-1962)
12 February 1880 in Valletta.
Priest: 22 December 1906
M.U.S.E.U.M. Premises: 7 March, 1907 at No. 6 Fra Diegu
26 July 1962 in St Venera
Venerable: 28 June 1999.
7 July 2000. The remains of Dun Gorg Preca were discovered
in an exceptional state of preservation, 38 years after
9 March 2001. The Pope beatified Fr Gorg Preca together
with two other Maltese Blessed during a morning Mass held
on the Granaries, Floriana.
Quote: Thank you Lord Jesus and forgive me Lord Jesus.
Day: 26 July 2002 will be the first feast of the Blessed
But all that would change through the initiative of Dun Gorg
Preca, a priest who realised that the common people had the right
to be taught religion and moreover to understand something about
He was born in Valletta on 12 February 1880, the seventh of nine
children. The family eventually moved to Hamrun and there he started
serving mass as an altar boy. Gorg Preca went to the local Primary
School and then on to the Lyceum which at the time was the best
government secondary school in Malta.
Following that, Gorg entered the Seminary, excelling especially
in Latin. It was his habit, even then, to gather friends around
him and give them a short spiritual talk. He was eventually ordained
deacon only to have his strength literally taken away from him.
He was diagnosed as suffering from lung failure and his father
was told that Gorg would probably not have a long life ahead of
him. He was discouraged from even buying him vestments or a missal.
However, just shortly before the day of his ordination in December
1906, Gorg got better and was ordained. He declared that he owed
his miraculous cure to St Joseph whom he followed devoutly. As
he grew much older he would jokingly say. "My father has
died, the professor has died and I, with just one lung, am still
alive to teach people!"
It was just after his ordination that he became inspired to teach
others about the Catholic religion. In his own words, "When
I became a priest I had no other thought, absolutely no other
interest, than to wait for the morning and celebrate Mass. After
Mass, I always went straight home. Our house was not big. We had
a room next to the roof. I would go up there to pray the breviary.
During the stillness, one morning, I had an inspiration from God
it is not enough for me merely to tell you this, but I
would like to convince you yes an inspiration fame tome
from God that I should choose some young people and teach them
so that they would be able to give religious formation to others."
At the time children learnt about God by gathering around other
altar boys and the sacristan after mass and asking a few questions.
On 7 March 1907 Dun Gorg rented a house at No. 6 Fra Diegu Street,
Hamrun. It was a small house where he began gathering young men
and teaching them catechism. He had a way with people, his persuasiveness,
his charisma, his enthusiasm towards his religion were inspiring.
It was immediately evident however, that ignorance in religious
matters was astonishingly high.
In time the number of his pupils increased and he felt that he
should form a society which was eventually called M.U.S.E.U.M.
The co-workers of Dun Gorg were called "Papidi", "Apostles",
and then "Soci". The first years were difficult. Dun
Gorg directed a society of laymen who while teaching catechism
needed to be instructed themselves. Dun Gorg started writing several
books which in due course were revised and printed.
The Church in Malta felt the need for this society but feared
that its members were not sufficiently trained to teach children.
In 1909, Dun Gorg was ordered to close down all his houses . But
soon the curia's order was retracted. After many years in 1932
Archbishop Mauro Caruana approved the Society. After that date,
Dun Gorg guided his Society with greater calm. Everyone revered
him as a saint.
World War II affected Dun Gorg and the Society adversely but
still it continued to expand. In 1952 it spread to Australia.
That same year Dun Gorg was nominated a Papal Secret Chamberlain
with the title of Monsignor. But he never donned a monsignor's
vestment and actually left the document which conferred on him
the title, on the Archbishops table and never bother to
claim it back.
Wealth and worldly things never attracted him. He lived a simple
life with spartan means. In fact he only got electricity installed
in his house in 1958, when one of the Society members took the
initiative to have it done for him.
Till the end, Dun Gorg continued to teach in all towns and villages
of Malta and Gozo. Many were enchanted by his words and deeds
by his simplicity, humbleness and meekness. His words to the Society
were "Teach, teach and teach, something of it will remain."
In 1961, after a whole lifetime in Hamrun, he was constrained
to move to his housekeepers home in St. Venera where he
eventually died on 26 July 1962.
Dun Gorg remained in the hearts and minds of all that had known
him and all those who knew about him and his lifes work.
Eventually, the Ordinary Congregation of the Cardinals and Bishops
of the Congregation for Causes of Saints examined the scientifically
unexplainable healing of Mr Charles Zammit Endrich. He had suffered
from a detached retina of the left eye, and the healing which
occurred on the 3 February 1964, was declared as a miraculous
healing attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Dun Gorg
On 24 June 1975 Archbishop Michael Gonzi issued a decree starting
off the process leading to Dun Gorg's canonization.
Fr George Preca was declared Venerable on the 28th June 1999.
His Holiness Pope John Paul II signed the Decree confirming the
miracle performed on Zammit Endrich in 1964 on Thursday 27 January
The remains of the Venerable Mgr Gorg Preca, exhumed on Friday
7 July 2000, from the crypt under the chapel of the MUSEUM headquarters
in Blata l-Bajda, were found remarkably well preserved, 38 years
after his death. His body was taken from the Hamrun Parish Church
where he had been buried, to the M.U.S.E.U.M centre at Blata l-Bajda.
On Wednesday 9 March 2001 the Pope beatified Dun Gorg Preca together
with 2 other Maltese Blessed during a morning Mass held on the