Saint George Preca was born in Valletta, Malta on the 12th February 1880. He was the 7th child in a family of 9. During his childhood his family moved to another town, Hamrun, where he spent the rest of his life. Like any other child he went to primary and secondary school up to the age of 16. By that time he was feeling God’s call to become a priest. He entered the Seminary of Malta where he studied theology until he was ordained a priest on the 22nd December 1906.
Around the time of his ordination he was also feeling another call. He felt that catechism courses in parishes were not adequately organised and that God was calling him to do something about it. He met a group of young people with whom he started meeting for Bible study sessions. Soon things developed and a new society, Society of Christian Doctrine (SDC) was established in 1907. This is made up of celibate lay men and women who after a day’s work in secular employment gather in centres in every city, town and village to catechise children and afterwards have sessions for their own formation.
Working for and within SDC meant a lot of hard work for Fr Preca. Naturally he had his normal duties as an ordinary priest serving in St Cajetan’s parish in Hamrun, Malta. Regularly almost every day however he would go to different SDC centres throughout Malta to talk to the children, young people and members. Often he would also talk to the people out in the open air. Hundreds of people regularly packed any place, street or square where he would go to give talks. Some of his favourite themes were ‘The aim of man’, ‘Right intention of our actions’ and ‘Forgiveness’. He also found time to talk to people who regularly wanted to seek his advice or talk to him about personal matters.
Fr George was also an avid writer. He wrote over a hundred publications on many spiritual and theological issues which he would then have published and sold at cost prices or given out freely to people. Among his best known writings are ‘The Great Book’ (Meditations on the Crucifix which he considered to be the great book) and ‘The Sanctuary of Christ’s Spirit’.
He spread devotion towards the Incarnation requiring all members of SDC to wear a badge with the words: The Word was made Flesh.
Fr Preca passed away on Thursday 26th July 1962 at the age of 82 years. Nine years later, in 1971 the official process towards canonisation started. Following a long process he was beatified by Blessed John Paul II on the 9th May 2001 in Malta.
Fr George Preca was canonised by Pope Benedict XVI on 3 June 2007. SDC is now spread to many countries including the UK. You can find more about them here.
One of the many prayers composed by St George Preca:
Quotidie is Latin for “daily”. It is meant to be the daily prayer for the Christian.
Lord God, you are here and I am in you: I speak to you and you listen to me: I ask of you and you grant to me because you have shown us in Holy Scripture that it is your delight to be with us your children, and also that it is your wish that we should have recourse to you in all our needs. It is with total confidence, therefore, that we ask of you as children ask of their parents.
– A –
1. Lord God, glorify your name.
2. Lord God, reign over all people.
3. Lord God, defend your honour.
4. Lord God, make yourself known.
5. Lord God, do your own will.
6. Lord God, rejoice in your works.
7. Lord God, enjoy your own beauty.
8. Lord God, show the beauty of your law.
9. Lord God, enjoy your infinite treasures.
– B –
1. Lord God, convert sinners to you.
2. Lord God, give perseverance to the just.
3. Lord God, save the dying.
4. Lord God, grant rest to the faithful departed.
5. Lord God, console those who are sad.
6. Lord God, enlighten the ignorant.
7. Lord God, restore health to the sick.
8. Lord God, help those in need.
9. Lord God, help those experiencing worries to accept your will.
– C –
1. Lord God, purify my heart.
2. Lord God, give me the spirit of Christ.
3. Lord God, save me from all deceits.
4. Lord God, lead me in all my ways.
5. Lord God, make me rejoice in your peace.
6. Lord God, keep me always in your hands.
7. Lord God, fill me with the spirit of sacrifice.
8. Lord God, seek me to adore you.
9. Lord God, bless my soul at the hour of my death.
Jesus Christ the Nazarene, King of the Jews, the only Son of the living God, and of the Virgin Mother Mary, sole mediator between us and God, show your divine wounds to the Justice of God, and through your merits save the whole world. Amen.