Yesterday was the feast of St George Preca (1880 – 1962).
He was born in Malta and was a Diocesan priest of that Archdiocese.
He lived down the street from where my family lived at Hamrun, Malta.
I had the privilege of meeting and speaking with him twice as a boy. He was an old man by then. For quite some time he had already had the reputation of being a very holy man.
I saw his funeral pass in front of our house when he died in 1962, I was ten years old.
I also had the privilege of concelebrating with Pope Benedict during his formal canonisation in Rome on the third of June 2007.
St George discovered as a young priest that there was a great need for faith formation of people and he set about doing something about that.
Eventually he founded the Preca community.
The Preca community consists of a group for men and one for women who dedicate their lives to the faith formation of others.
They are not priests or religious but remain consecrated lay people.
They are committed to life-long learning for themselves about our catholic faith and to pass this learning on to others especially the young, but also to all others.
St George had a great commitment to the WORD MADE FLESH.
This refers to the incarnation of Christ. That is, the fact that Jesus God became flesh.
This is a fundamental fact of Catholic Theology.
God deals with us as human beings and by the incarnation connects with us in a special way. Being Christian is about being fully human, being the person who I have been created to be. Jesus and his teachings guide us about how we can best be ourselves.
There is a great need for a deeper faith formation for our time. There is a lot of ignorance about a true understanding of the Christian faith. What people often reject is a misinformed and distorted concoction of what it is really all about.
Pope Francis has just formalised the ministry of Catechists in the church.
St George was a pioneer in empowering lay people as catechists many years before Vatican II.
We need to be creative in our own time in this very valuable ministry in the church.
St George pray for us!