On Sunday, 21st November 2017 the Archbishop of Malta, Mons. Charles J. Scicluna paid an official visit to St Margaret College Senior Secondary School Verdala, Cospicua as part of his pastoral visit programme to Cospicua. On this occasion, student members of the school students’ council and other selected students offered an honourable welcome to the Archbishop. Mons. Scicluna started his visit by spending some time of private prayers in the school chapel dedicated to St Margaret Queen of Scots. After the blessing of the chapel, the Archbishop met a representative of each class in the school hall where he was officially addressed by two Form IV students, Grazia Magro and Leon Buttigieg. The Head of School, Mr Joseph Ellul delivered his official speech emphasizing the need of the Church in Malta to outreach more to youths, especially those who are in search of truth and love. Archbishop Scicluna spent time listening to students and answering some of their questions. To the following questions, the Archbishop answered as follows:
Question 1: How should we Christian students deal with other students and people who are no longer following the Christian way or who are non- Christians?
Surely we must deal with these students and people with great Christian love. As Maltese Christians, we must stop thinking that we Catholics are the only people living in Malta. We must understand that amongst us we have other people who are not Catholic and we must show them our great respect. An imposed religion tends to be a ‘fake’ one and so we better think of witnessing the Christian life amongst other people rather than imposing our faith onto them. Our witness must follow Christ’s love and respect to everyone even with those who oppose us or are against us.
Question 2: Apart from the Holy Bible which is your favourite book and author?
Surely it is the French writer and military pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry who wrote and illustrated the book: ‘The Little Prince’ during World War II, after Germany’s invasion of his country forced him to flee to New York. The novella, Saint-Exupéry’s most famous work, tells the story of a pilot stranded in the desert who meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. However, my favourite saying in this book is: “The essential is invisible to the eyes” – a saying inviting everyone to communicate with others with the language of the heart. The stories of Sherlock Holmes who is a fictional private detective created by the British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are also my favourite plus other authors like John Keats and the Italian Classics. I am also fascinated by William Shakespeare whose wise thoughts remain meaningful forever.
Question 3: What preoccupies you with our Maltese youths?
Maltese youths do not preoccupy me at all as they remain youths. I am preoccupied with those people who take advantage of our youths and offer them drugs. I get preoccupied when our youths do not ask questions and remain passive spectators in life. So I encourage youths to keep on supporting each other and remain firm about their principles. We need to see our youths fit and active.
Question 4: What are the values that you admire in our Maltese youths?
Surely I admire their great value of generosity and also their active participation through various youth voluntary work. I encourage Maltese youths to travel abroad as much as they can so they can acquire a worldwide vision of life and not limit themselves to the mentality of islanders. Yes, I admire our Maltese youths for being so adventurous and generous in life.
Question 5: What is your favourite saying?
I really enjoy reading the sayings mentioned by the Maltese Saint George Preca in his book: ‘L-Gherf ta’ Missirijietma’. However, the saying that I like most in my life is Jesus words: “Greater love has no one than this that one lay down his life for his friends”. At the end of this occasion, two selected students offered the Archbishop a symbolic gift on behalf of the whole school and then students were invited to join in a common prayer followed by the final blessing and the singing of the Maltese National Anthem. Surely this visit of the Archbishop of Malta to St. Margaret’s College was a very memorable and touching experience to both students and teachers.