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FMLA Newsletter Issue 9

May 2011

Angelo Vella a Maltese-Canadian centenarian tells of his journey to Canada 91 years ago with his brother, sister, and mother. See page 4.


From the Editor’s Desk:

Celebrating Our Maltese Seniors and Our Heritage When FMLA Secretary Albert Vella told me he was making arrangements to visit with MalteseCanadian, Angelo Vella, who had reached his 100th birthday in February, I was so pleased. (Albert's conversation with Angelo and an oral history taken at the Museum in Halifax, Nova Scotia from his 89th birthday begin on page 4.) Maltese Link readers would be able to get a glimpse, albeit small, of what it was like for a boy of nine to leave Malta for Canada in 1920. And, as Albert tells, after all these years Angelo was able to describe the Naxxar he left and to speak in the Naxxar dialect. Sadly, much of our heritage leaves us without a flicker of interest in the community. It doesn't have to be that way as many in the Diaspora are showing. It is later than we think. Think about it: Does your local Maltese organization have a program that helps create oral histories of senior members? Are there collections of old photographs, home movies, of recordings of what life was like in the early days of being in their new country? Are these collections available for others in the community or researchers to view? Does your Maltese organization sponsor senior events to encourage these individuals to share their memories and insights about how things were earlier in their lifetimes? Are these events recorded for future generations? Have you spoken with local historical societies, university and public libraries MAY 2011

about collections they have and how the material you might provide would be important to the community? On a personal level: Do you encourage senior family members to talk about and share their memories and heritage? Do you encourage younger family members to participate in senior family member discussions about their memories of Malta? What are you doing to encourage the preservation of your family history? Are you keeping scrapbooks, or tape recording your relatives describing their experiences? In many elementary and middle schools in the United States and Canada, emigration is a curriculum topic and one where students are required to learn more about their own family's emigration history. This can include talking with living family elders, or someone in the community who shares their cultural identity. Often, students must make a presentation about the culture, food, music, and history. There will be maps, coins, photographs of men and women in national dress, samples of food, and perhaps a picture book with the written language. In some schools, children are encouraged to bring a relative who explains his or her emigration experience. Other times, the students “man” a booth with artifacts and information they have gathered about their “family country” and discuss it with school visitors (usually parents!) who visit what often is referred to as a “Living Museum.” Some schools require their students to tape an oral history with a family elder, as did one of my cousins who interviewed my late grandmother, Tona. That tape remains in our Page 2


family. I have been the family “go-to” person for all things Maltese in my family, not that I am the eldest, but because I usually have the “stuff” required for these projects, or can find them on short notice. My reputation has grown… I am asked to do this for Maltese friends' children and families that may have only one Maltese family member, a nanna or nannu. What I find encouraging with families with only one Maltese family member is that the Maltese heritage is chosen to be explored by the student required to do the project. Many children with Maltese backgrounds who are required to do these projects “dazzle” their friends and teachers with

small pieces of Gozo glass, Maltese Cross jewelry, bobbin lace bookmarks, even ċombini and a trajbu, Maltese language children's picture books or whatever the person asked, usually at the last minute, has available. My favorite request is for a plate or so of pastizzi, which, yes, I have provided frozen for some local children. The most unusual request was from one young boy who asked if I could bring a plate of ross fil-forn for him because “my mother does not know how to make it, and my nanna is in Gozo. We are going to see her in the summer.” Until next month, Saћћa u sliem dejjem! Claudia Caruana ■

From The President:

To Malta, To Malta It is that time of the year when many Maltese living overseas feel they must go to Malta to visit family, renew their connections with the old country, meet old friends, and make some new ones, and in general, satisfy the everpresent urge to prove to themselves that they are still at heart very much Maltese. Malta is changing at a tremendous rate, taking full advantage of its new status as a member of the powerful European Union. One can see the effect of this not only through the injection of vast amounts of EU money, but also in the attitude of the population itself, which has become Europeanised.

a major impact on life in Valletta as we knew it. One will not fail to notice the considerable effort spent in transforming the infrastructure in Malta. From July onwards, expect to travel in luxurious buses no longer at the whim of their much-maligned ownerdrivers, but managed by a modern company. Hopefully, this will be a quantum jump from the previous service provided. Those travelling to Gozo will no doubt be impressed with the terminal facilities at

One of the first things Maltese returning home and visitors, alike, will see is the demolition work on the Valletta gate, Il-Bieb tal-Belt. In months to come, they also will see other new buildings going up, including the planned new opera house and the Houses of Parliament. This will certainly have

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Mgarr, which compare easily with the best available in Europe.

budgets will not be coming thanks to skyrocketing travel costs.

We do not have statistics as to the contribution that Maltese living abroad actually make to the Maltese economy. You can not compare the total number of Maltese tourists with the total number of tourists for the simple reason that while the average tourist stays in Malta for a few days, most often a week; many Maltese tourists would invariably stay several weeks, thus making an important contribution to the Maltese economy.

It, therefore, is crucial for efforts to be directed to encourage younger Maltese in the community - those in the second and subsequent generations - to become interested in Maltese culture to ensure they also would want to visit the old country of their family and benefit by maintaining such a cultural contact.

Sadly, many ageing Maltese-born people living overseas, are no longer making the voyage because they are not capable of making the trip, and others on limited

We commend the efforts of communityminded Maltese living abroad who are trying to establish programs that encourage young people to find their roots in Malta and experience the culture of their forebearers. Maurice Cauchi ■

Centenarian Reminisces About The Naxxar He Left 91 Years Ago Editor’s note: Angelo Vella left Malta 91 years ago and arrived on Pier 21 (at the time Pier 2) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which he revisited in 1999 and wrote about it (see page 5.) That article triggered our interest so Albert Vella paid Angelo a visit a few weeks after Angelo’s 100th birthday to interview him for Lehen Malti, the Maltese weekly TV program in Canada. What struck me most were Angelo‟s hospitality and his very vivid memories of the Malta he left 91 years ago as boy of 9, and the trip that brought him and his family to their new home, Canada. Without any prompting, he related in detail the trip with his mother, brother and sister on the mv Caronia. As you will see in his detailed write-up penned in 1990, the trip was not an easy one but Angelo came out strong from this (quasi) harrowing experience. When I started the interview in Maltese and asked him to say a few words in Maltese, he made the comment that he had left Malta a long time ago so he responded in English – vivid, enthusiastic, and refreshingly happy

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about the good country that Canada is. He made special reference to his daily commitment as an altar server at the 6 a.m. Mass, his days at St. Michael‟s College School, and his happy days working even at the time of the Great Depression. Angelo also talked about the time he would go with his father to help with the building of the Maltese church, of St. Paul the Apostle. After high school he started as an apprentice machinist and then became a tool and die maker - a trade which he practiced for more than 40 years. About 30 minutes into the conversation, I again posed a question in Maltese; Angelo

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perked up, the voice volume increased considerably, and his response was now in „naxxori‟ Maltese (Maltese dialect from Naxxar). Angelo reminisced about the street his family lived on, the barber, and the Naxxar Parish Church where he attended mass. This is a 100-year old relating, in very vivid terms, his experiences in Naxxar, more than 91 years ago. While desiring to return to see his home town, Angelo has never returned to Malta as he shared with me that he was afraid of flying. I had to leave because it was time for Angelo to join the residents of the retirement home for lunch, but I left a beaming Angelo who extended a heartfelt invitation to visit him again. And already I have!

Angelo Vella Maltese Immigrant Caronia June 18, 1920 The following was written by Angelo Vella in February 2000, a few weeks before his 89th birthday. It describes his journey from Malta to Toronto with his brother Joe, sister Victoria, and mother Rosalea, in the summer of 1920. The ship that he arrived in docked at Halifax Harbour’s Pier 2; the building that predates Pier 21. After attending Mass we left Malta by ship in late May at about two in the afternoon. Our first stop was to be Tunis in North Africa, which was really in the opposite direction of our eventual destination. We travelled third class and were supposed to sleep on deck. However, a big storm hit and we were sent below. The storm was so bad that they threw cargo and even animals overboard to lighten the ship. We arrived in Tunis the next day and spent a day and half there. We then sailed north to Marseille. I have a vivid memory of our arrival. There were soldiers taking prisoners that were chained MAY 2011

together onto ships bound for other countries. We thought even Devil‟s Island. From Marseille we travelled by train to Bordeaux, and then by ship across the English Channel to London. When we arrived at Victoria Station we were told that we had missed our sailing out of Liverpool, and would have to spend four days in London. Eventually we made our way to Liverpool, and the Cunard vessel named the Caronia. While in line to board the ship, all passengers received a quick medical inspection. The family ahead of us was pulled aside to return to Malta. Thinking that we [were] part of that same family, the doctor also pulled us from the line. A Maltese man that was travelling with us convinced the doctor that we were a separate family and finally we were allowed to board. Our mother nearly died of fear from that experience alone. While on the Caronia we experienced the “Milk of Human Kindness” that you read about. Our mother was confined to her bed with seasickness from the moment we stepped onto the ship. As we were travelling in third class we had our meals at the final setting, and being without adult supervision we were not getting our share of the food. Page 5


One steward serving our table noticed our situation and asked where our mother was. We explained to him that she was sick in bed. He told us (and about seven other children) not to eat with the adults, but to wait until they were finished and he would set up a separate table for us. We did this for the rest of the voyage. Also after each meal he gave us a packed lunch to take back to our mother. That act of kindness stayed with me all of my life. After six days of beautiful and calm weather we arrived at Halifax Harbour on the evening of June 18th, 1920. Due to fog, the ship was not allowed to enter the actual harbour. I suppose that after the 1917 disaster they were not taking any chances. It was on the morning of June 19th then, that we actually docked and entered Canada. We boarded a train that was beside the pier, and started on our last leg to Toronto. I do not remember much of the train ride, other than arriving at Toronto‟s Union Station at about eleven p.m. on June 20th. Our father had arrived in Canada seven years earlier. The idea was that he would come here first, set up a home and send for us. The advent of the World War One had

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greatly delayed this plan. He was to meet us at Union Station. He owned a car and everything should have been fine, but somehow we missed each other. So we started out towards our new home on one of Toronto‟s old (wooden) streetcars. It was a one-hour ride, Our father had arrived in Canada seven years earlier. The idea was that and even when it ended we were still a mile away from our destination. So there we were, walking with our luggage at about midnight. Somehow my father found us though, and took us home. So that was the introduction to Canada for a family of three young children (Ages 12, 9, 7) and their mother, who until a month before had never travelled more than eight miles at one time, and had just completed a journey of about eight thousand miles. It was a very hard and eventful twenty-four day voyage to the unknown. But after living in Canada for eighty years, I can honestly say it was worth it. Canada has been good to us, and I think it is the greatest country to live in. Let‟s all enjoy it in harmony with each other. I visited Halifax in September of 1999, and the Good Lord willing, I hope to visit again soon. ■

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Resources for Family History, Emigration Research Several Maltese Link readers have written recently, asking where they might find more information about the emigration of now deceased family members or help in assisting younger family members about emigration issues for school projects.

Several Canadian Maltese organizations might also be of assistance. In Australia:

The National Library of Australia (www.nla.gov.au) has an extensive collection of documents, oral histories, some of which The information below is not extensive, and can be is not meant to be. But it can be a start in accessed your journey to find out more about your from the relatives and friends who left Malta many website. years ago. Some services might require fees. (Look for A word of caution: there are many bogus family histories or Immigration on the (and often pricey) Internet sites promising Library's website.) information about ancestor searches. Mark Caruana, In Canada: (caruanamark@optusnet.com.au), a migration researcher and family historian Last February, Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova who has participated in the 2000 and 2010 Scotia, officially became the Canadian Migration Conventions in Malta, and has Museum of Immigration at Pier 2. It is extensive databases of individuals who Canada‟s sixth national museum, and only migrated from Malta to Australia, can also the second one outside Canada‟s national help locate documents. capital region. Several Australian-Maltese social and The research professional groups also may have department at information. the Canadian Museum of In the United States: Immigration The Ellis Island Museum (www.ellisisland.org) takes genealogy requests via email, in New York has a helpful website and search telephone, or in-person. According to Carriefunction to find information about emigrants Ann Smith, Manager of research, “We have from Malta and other access to arrival and departure sources going places who were back to 1865, along with 2,000 personal processed there. migration memoirs and family histories, In Malta: thousands of scanned documents and images, hundreds of oral history interviews, If you are visiting and books relating to Canadian immigration, Malta, you might want nautical history, and the Canadians in WWII.” to check with the National Archives of For more information about these services, Malta, Customer Care, contact Carrie-Ann Smith, Manager of Hospital St., Rabat RBT1043. The Archives Research, library@pier21.ca has a website (www.nationalarchives.gov.mt) Additional information about Pier 21 can be that can help requests from researchers found at: http://www.pier21.ca/about/news/ living abroad. Passport application Editor's Note: I visited this museum several photographs of Maltese emigrants are years ago while in Nova Scotia. I found the available. E-mail: exhibits poignant and riveting, and certainly customercare@archives.gov.mt ■ worth experiencing.

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Ethnic Journalism Thrives Editor's Note: Although I live in the United States, I had been a reader of the Maltese Herald for many years, thanks to my late Great Uncle Salvu who lived in Beverly Hills, NSW. Uncle Salvu would gather a month's worth of newspapers and mail them to me. I learned much of what I know about the Maltese community in Australia from reading the newspapers and had communicated with its editor, Lino Vella over the years. As a journalist, I was pleased to learn that The Maltese Herald, sold all over Australia, will celebrate its 50th year this summer. I wrote to Lino Vella earlier in the year to tell his story about the birth and success of this vibrant newspaper, which many might call the pulse of the Maltese community in Australia to Maltese Link readers. Unfortunately, there are no Maltese newspapers in the United States; Canada had a monthly, Maltese newspaper, L'Ahbar, but after 20 years, it folded abruptly several years ago. So I was particularly interested in why this one has lasted and continues to thrive.

will be 75 years old. My favorite place in Malta is St. Julian‟s where I was raised; I still have several brothers and sisters in Malta. I am now a widower as my wife Barbara (English) who helped produce the paper, died seven years ago in July. I have two children, Paul and Annette, and I am a grandfather of five.” The Maltese Herald, which is written in Maltese (80%) and English, now is printed in color. The staff consists of two people, several volunteers, and correspondents. Vella acknowledges that the advent of the Internet has made publishing more difficult, and although ethnic newspapers in Australia continue to exist, it is getting more difficult for all to survive. Quite a few have vanished already.” He adds: “We live on advertising, and the advertising dollar is slowly vanishing as governments use the Internet, hoping for free advertising.” There are no plans to have a website. Vella says. “If we do, it will be the end of the newspaper.” Claudia Caruana ■

Vella says there were two earlier attempts to publish a Maltese newspaper for Maltese emigrants, Il-Lehen il-Malti and Malta News, which he describes in the accompanying article, but there also were several other attempts during the lifetime of The Maltese Herald, that failed: The Malta Cross and The Observer. In Victoria, there were also a couple of attempts at publishing a Maltese newspaper, The Times and Il-Maltija, but they also failed.

Maltese Herald Celebrates 50th Anniversary in July

Although Vella, born in Rahal Gdid, was not trained as a journalist, he says “experience and needs makes you one. So, I am a selfmade journalist although I never claim that I am. I came to Australia as an 18- year-old in 1954 but I always had a flair for writing, and it showed in my letters back home. I am just doing a job, and what I thought the Community needed at the time.”

This is Vella's story. “I arrived in Australia in 1954, and luckily I joined a newly established Maltese Team, the Malta Eagles. In the competition in the Eastern Suburbs there was also an other Maltese Team, Melita. We played against each other. As happened in 1957, there was a breakaway in the soccer camps and the

Vella visits Malta approximately every two years. “I do not know for how long I will go on, as on the 22nd of September, this year, I

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The idea of having a newspaper in Australia came out of “football, or as we knew it then, 'soccer, '” Lino Vella, the editor of The Maltese Herald says.

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NSW Soccer Federation was formed. The two Maltese teams took the opportunity to join together and were one of the first teams to join the new NSW Federation. They played in the second division under the name of Melita Eagles United. “After a while, club members believed the group needed some sort of a magazine, and Soccer Light was born. One of the committee people was Lawrence Dimech, who edited the magazine, I contributed reports and results. Once in a while, we managed to put in a photo or two. In those days, it was very difficult and expensive to publish. Some supporters suggested that we might be able to print results from Malta. “As football was just about the only way to get people together in a good number, it was a readymade customer base for a newspaper. “Before you knew it, a teacher, Maurice Gili, announced at that next home game that there would be a new Maltese newspaper called, Lehen il-Malti (The Maltese Voice).“ And, so the adventure of a Maltese newspaper had its beginning. “This paper was published forthnightly, and we looked forward very much to get it as soon as it came out. We were happy about it, although some people believed we needed more information, and maybe, a weekly newspaper. “So, some committee people in the Melita rank, now playing under the banner of Melita Eagles United, came with the idea of starting a second fortnightly newspaper, Malta News, but on the off weeks of publishing the Leћen il-Malti. It was in that way that the Maltese people would have a weekly newspaper. “The editor was Lawrence Dimech. I was involved with reporting on the games; Sam Vella, another well-known individual in the Maltese community, was trying to get

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advertising. “Lehen il-Malti was about to fold, so Malta News took it over and for a while, it was produced as Malta News incorporating Lehen il-Malti. The rising costs of running the

newspaper, our lack of experience, and waning enthusiasm, caused the newspaper to fold. “At the same time, we went through a period lamenting the fact that there were no links with Malta and on the airwaves the only Maltese programme we had then, a religious programme on Sundays. There was a great void. “Early in 1961, there was another move to start a newspaper, and two businessmen, Vincent Pisani well known then in real estate, and Nick Bonello involved in the travel business, with Lawrence Dimech as

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the other partner and with journalistic experience edited also the newspaper, called The Maltese Herald. “This time, there was no rush, so they decided to print once a fortnight an eightpage newspaper, with news from Malta, the local community and other Maltese communities in Australia. “The first issue came out on Friday 28 July 1961, with a message from the Maltese Ambassador, Sir Mamo Dingli. As Lawrence Dimech had established quite a few contacts, the newspaper was making a name for itself. At this time, I joined, trying to find shops or places for the paper to be sold especially in Maltese neighborhoods. The paper was sold for 1 shilling. I also started contributing articles. “Printing places were established, but we moved about trying to find the right price that we could afford. I am not sure who made contact with John Jacoby a German printing his German newspaper De Woche and also as he was a printer had other newspapers printing at his place in Seddon Street, Bankstown, including a Spanish paper and a Yugoslav paper. It was then that The Maltese Herald finally had a proper office; John Jacoby became a partner. For the first time we also had a Maltese typesetter Emmanuel Giordimaina, as all the work was done on linotype. In 1962, Dimech had to go to Malta and Nick Bonello became the Editor. In the meantime, Fr. Frank Scicluna helped writing articles and he had his own column Mistoqsija oht ilgћerf. In 1968, after an absence of almost two years, I was preparing for the arrival of the Leader of the Opposition, Dom Mintoff where he created quite a commotion where ever he went. I was asked by Dimech to take photos

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for the paper, and that is when I started my part-time career as a photographer. We travelled and met politicians everywhere. Dom Mintoff was a hit and caused quite a stir when he arrived at the airport. Government officials were not prepared for such big crowds. “My affiliation with The Maltese Herald grew stronger, writing sports articles and even a TV column, still looking for new places to sell it and even an odd advertising spot for the paper, always as a volunteer. “The crunch came in 1971. Lawrence Dimech was chosen by the new Labour Government in Malta to be an Attache in NSW. “We had a dilemma: What were we to do with the newspaper? Let it go, after 10 years of hard work, or find an alternative? “Once again, I was approached to run The Maltese Herald. I had my Christmas break coming along, so I decided to give it a go, and I did. I took over officially in 1972. I bought the shares from Nick Bonello and in the meantime, Lawrence Dimech was a silent partner with John Jacoby, because of his job. “This went on for a while. And John Jacoby and myself decided to buy Lawrence Dimech‟s shares. “This continued to go on until I decided to move to Merrylands from Bankstown, so I bought John Jacoby‟s shares. Now, I am on my own, and I have been doing this for the last 37 years. The paper had quite a transition from linotype to computers, and for the last five years, Indesign and colour and having Mrs. Rita Kassas doing most of the work on her own. “For the forthcoming 50 years celebration, I am planning to put in a supplement as a souvenir for our readers.” ■

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“Kien, bniedem mimli b’Alla.” On May 1st, 2011, NET TV broadcast a special program on the occasion of the Beatification of Pope John Paul II. The program, broadcast live, included an interview by Marion Zammit with Msgr. Alfred Xuereb, Second Personal Secretary of Pope Benedict XVI. The interview was held at the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican and the photos above were captured in Canada directly from the transmission. The title of the article is Msgr. Xuereb‟s response to Ms. Zammit‟s question “Dun Alfred, min kien Ġwanni Pawlu II, għalik?” An edited translation of the interview follows. Monsignor, your role today is that of Second Secretary of Pope Benedict XVI, but it is my understanding that you worked very closely with Pope John Paul II. When was the first time that you met Pope John Paul on a personal basis, and what are your memories of that particular day?

I first met John Paul II when, for the first time in the history of Malta, the Pope visited the Maltese Islands. On May 26 th 1990, Pope John Paul II celebrated mass in the Basilica of Ta‟ Pinu. At that time I was undertaking pastoral work in a parish in Rome, and although I had seen the Pope on many occasions, I felt it was my duty to come to Malta specifically to meet the Pope in my country of birth. The memories of that day are still very clear for me, and especially the time when the

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This is a translation of the interview by Marion Zammit of NET TV, and publication in the Maltese Link was made possible by Media Link Communication. We are indebted for this opportunity. Efforts have been made to ensure that the translation reflects accurately both the interviewer’s questions as well as the Monsignor’s answers, and any variance in content or interpretation is not intended and regretted. It is to be noted, that due to space restrictions, segments of the interview are not included in this article and others have been shortened.

Pope gave his blessings in Maltese; that moment is forever etched in my heart. I recall that Mass had been celebrated outdoors, in the Ta‟ Pinu Square, and after Mass the priests were invited into the basilica and I was lucky to be assigned the second seat. Since that day coincided with my sixth anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood I had memorized what I would share with the Pope: “Your Holiness today is the sixth anniversary of my ordination, and I have spent the last six years in your Diocese…” However once the Pope started to walk towards us, I sort of froze and could not share with him anything that I had prepared; my emotions had taken the better of me. My memory is of kissing his papal ring but I was speechless. However from that brief encounter I felt very close to the Pope and whenever I saw the Pope on TV, I realized that the encounter at Ta‟ Pinu had left an indelible mark. Of course, little did I think that I would be called to service at the Vatican and so closely to the Pope.

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Father Alfred, can you share with us some of your work and any special experience, given that you were so close to the Pope? A unique priviledge for sure. I started my career here at the Vatican‟s Segreterija talIstat, and then moved to the Prefettura talCasa Pontificia. This office is responsible for preparing and ensuring the smooth operation of the Pope‟s agenda. At that time I was appointed Prelato di Anticamera Pontificia. This post required that I would introduce those persons who visit the Pope on a private papal audience, usually held in the Pope’s Private Library; other audiences are held at is-Sala dei Papi or l‟ Aula delle Benedizioni. I had the priviledge of introducing many personalities to His Holiness, who never expected a bow and never made anyone feel that the Pope was superior.

President of Columbia felt that through Pope John Paul II he had experienced the supernatural well-being that the Pope seemed to transmit. Dun Alfred, how would you describe the time when we would see the Pope publicly suffering because of his illness? When I started my service as Prelato d’Anticamera, Pope John Paul was already very sick. During that time Pope John Paul would be wheeled in to the audience hall where he would be waiting for the visitor to come in for the papal audience. I can recall he would rest his elbow on the armchair and then place his hands under his cheeks. He had such an angelic look or smile, very similar to a grandfather looking down on his grandchildren as they were approaching him. That lovely look has stayed with me; it is closer to my heart even more than words he might have expressed to me. Can you give us an idea what experiences you gained in your time working closely with Pope John Paul II?

This seems to indicate a trait in the Pope’s character! Pope John Paul II loved to experience the traditions and cultures of his visitors. He would willingly and graciously accept to wear paper flower garlands that a lot of nuns from India would ask him to wear. I recall a visit by the President of Columbia, who at the end of the papal Audience, seemed like he had experienced a vision. He greeted everyone with the comment: “I have seen the Pope; how blessed I am to have seen the Pope.” It seemed that it was not just that he had just met the Pope as the head of the Catholic Church. The

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A lot. It is difficult to summarize in a few words; perhaps the biggest one would be realizing that although he had his two feet on the ground, his life was already being lived in Heaven. That is how I saw him. This impression has been further cemented after what I have learned about him in recent times. He prayed a lot; he did a lot of penance. It has been related to me that he would be found very early in the morning prostrate on the ground praying, especially before a trip, a particular papal audience, or before taking an important decision. A man of God, I saw his resilience in carrying on despite the burden of his illness. He was determined to fulfil the mission that God had entrusted to him. This, too, left a lasting impression with me. The way he put aside his pain to fulfil his mission was a sign of his holiness and closeness to God.

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Dun Alfred, you are today very close to Pope Benedct XVI. How different is is he from Pope John Paul II? This is a very difficult question. I would prefer to leave the answer for history to be the judge. I have to emphasize that there is a very definite sense of continuity. Today‟s Pope, Benedict XVI was for many years, Pope John Paul‟s right-hand. Cardinal Ratzinger would be there for advice and to prepare documents etc., and therefore on his election as pope there was no doubt that the continuity would be there. It is to be noted that there were intiatives already started by Cardinal Ratzinger. My view is

including atheists – to emphasise the commitment of Catholics to share the message with all, even non-Catholics. Both popes shared this commitment as a matter of priority. It is to emphasised that each Pope will leave an imprint of his own character and style, but the legacy will be the accomplishment of the mission entrusted to him by God without any need of comparisons to that of a previous Pope. That is how I see the current Pope, fullfilling his mission, while professing his great love for Pope John Paul II. Dun Alfred, who was John Paul II, for you? As I previously stated, he was a man of God. He was a man fully inspired with ideas that, it seemed, he had heard about in his heart directly from God.

that there is a shared commitment in priorities; Pope John Paul focused a lot on dialogue with other Christians (who are not Catholics), and Pope Benedict continues this dialogue with what we refer to as “ our separated brethren.” Pope John Paul II went to great lengths for dialogue with other religions; the same is apparent for the current Pope, and this is evidenced in Pope Bendict‟s last book “Jesus of Nazareth.” The Pope is not elected for Catholics only. Popes feel very strongly that the message of salvation should reach all people spread around the globe. As an example, I make reference to his visit to France, where Pope Benedict insisted that he wanted to meet with all intellectuals,

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He was a well-loved Pope, not only because of his pleasant disposition. He has left us with a sense of the availability of heaven to us all, all thanks to his touching our hearts. The love for this Pope was manifested at his funeral with so many waiting for sixteen hours to bid him goodbye, even if it meant seeing him for only a few seconds as one walked past his coffin. It was clear they all wanted to say thank you. It is also to be noted that over two hundred government delegations attended his funeral, emphasisng that two hundred countries decided to honour and give homage to the Pope. No doubt this is influenced by the fact that he had visited twenty six of those countries, but the fact remains that the countries he visited considered him as “family”; the fact that he visited my country made him closer to me and a lot of countries seemed to classify him as an honorary citizen of their country. Albert E. Vella ■

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Notes from the Secretary: On behalf of the committee of the Federation of Maltese Living Abroad, I am pleased to share a few short updates with FMLA members and the readers of our newsletter.

Albert E. Vella

Maltese Link Circulation The Maltese Link is now distributed electronically to close to 550 readers in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Libya, Luxembourg, Malta, Peru, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, and Vatican City. The newsletter is also distributed, either electronically or by mail, to around 2,300 members of our organizations: Gozo Club, Maltese American Social Club of South San Francisco, Maltese Canadian Club of London, La Valette Social Centre, Australia and Malta Society of New Zealand Inc. The Maltese

Culture Movement, U.K. has all our issues prominently included on its web site – http://www.malteseculturemovement.com/?p=134 While thanking our readers and our members, we do encourage all our member organizations to distribute (where possible) or make the Maltese Link available to their members. Of course we would appreciate being notified if there are other members promoting our newsletter. ■

Membership Continues to Grow The Maltese American Community Club of South San Francisco has been added to the FMLA membership list, which now stands at 44 organizations whose members are close to 8,500. The number of organizations for each country is listed below: Australia 28, Canada 9, New Zealand 2, USA 3, Belgium 1, and U.K. 1.

Website We are very pleased to note that the development of the FMLA website is far advanced. ■

MALTESE BOOK BAG The Bishop Nikol Cauchi Foundation, Bishop Nikol Cauchi, Articles and Pictures, Victoria: Gozo. ISBN 97899957-006-5, 244 pp., 2011. This collection of 66 articles, originally written for the Malta Times and the Malta Sunday Times, had its start in Brazil in 2002. Bishop Cauchi was in Brazil, visiting parishes served by Gozitan priests. Steve Mallia, a journalist traveling with him during the later part of the trip, encouraged Bishop Cauchi to write opinion articles, covering a wide range of subjects, on a regular basis for the newspapers. It was Bishop Cauchi's wish that the essays would eventually be published in a book.

MAY 2011

Sponsors of the book include FXB, Ta Cenc Hotel, Bank of Valletta, and HSBC. All proceeds from the publication will go to the Bishop Nikol Cauchi Foundation, which was created to promote dialogue through socio-cultural and religious activities. Editor's Note: the book can be ordered from Fr. Renato Borg at the Gozo Curia. borgrenato@yahoo.com

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Michael Galea, Valletta: Niches, Small Churches, Public Fountains, Public Clocks, Monuments, and Marble Tables. Valletta: Allied Publications, ISBN: 978 – 999 0931631, 166 pp., 2011.

Catholic priest Rob Anderson into her life. The secret they discover hidden in the mysterious artifacts turns out to be not only devastating, but deadly. And, it has the starcrossed couple running for their lives across Europe and the Middle East, pursued by three ruthless opposing factions; each for its own reason are determined to torture and kill them and to lay hands on the world-shaking evidence uncovered. Dingli, who is Maltese Australian and lives in Perth, is the author of Death in Malta, several other novels, and six collections of short stories. Laurence J. Spiteri, JCD, Ph.D., At Your Fingertips: The Catholic Church Rides the Waves of Turbulent History (16481848), Vol. 4. Staten Island, NY: St. Paul's/Alba House Publishers, ISBN 13978-08100-13334. 224 pp., 2011.

Whether you are cheering or jeering the recent demolition of City Gate, Il-Bieb talBelt, you will want to learn more about it and other important structures and monuments in Valletta. Each of the structures and monuments, some dating from the 16th century, have “stories” to tell visitors and residents alike. Galea describes their past and sometimes, recent history. Roseanne Dingli, According to Luke. Langley, B.C., Canada. BeWrite Books, Inc., ISBN: 978-1-906609-542. 366 pp., 2011. Shattered by the breakdown of yet another romance, Jana Hayes becomes a recluse in her tiny Venice apartment and buries herself in her work as an expert art conservator until an ancient religious icon brings Roman

MAY 2011

This is the fourth volume in Msgr. Spiteri's, At Your Fingertips series. During the 200 years (1648-1848) covered in this volume, Msgr. Spiteri shows how Catholic princes and other secular authorities tried to control the Church and to marginalize Her influence. Msgr. Spiteri, who is MalteseAmerican, is in the legal office of the Vatican Apostolic Library and a judge on the Court of Appeals for the Roman See. He has authored more than 40 other scholarly books on Catholicism. ■

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On-Line Book Services Editor’s Note: We are printing this information about on-line booksellers at the request of several readers. Although many readers use Amazon (www.amazon.com), Barnes & Noble (www.barnesandnoble.com), Borders (www.borders.com), and Indigo (www.indigo.com) in their respective countries to obtain books about Malta or books by Maltese authors, there are several Maltese on-line booksellers that usually have a much larger selection of these books. Here are several websites and services that may be helpful if you are seeking books about Malta, learning the Maltese language, and art culture:

www.maltaonlinebookshop.com. This website bookseller, owned and operated by Patrick Anastasi, who lives in Malta, lists an extensive number of Maltese books, and books about language, on its website. www.bdlbooks.com. Book Distributors Ltd., which operates a book warehouse in San Gwann, has an extensive number of Maltese books available at its website. www.maltabook.com. This website/on-line bookselling service is operated by A.C. Aquilina Booksellers on Republic St., Valletta. www.agendamalta.com This website/on-line booking service is operated by Agenda Books, a bookselling chain in Malta. Agenda Books took over the Sapienza Bookstore on Republic St., Valletta, several years ago.

We'd Like to Hear from You In a few months, Albert Vella and I will have been writing and editing The Maltese Link for one year. It's been an amazing experience and we appreciate hearing from readers. We've covered a variety of topics we believe would be of interest to Maltese living abroad. From what we have heard from readers, we appear to be on target as to what they want to see in the newsletter. Toward the end of the summer, we hope to conduct an e-mail survey that will tell us which articles you liked best and which you liked least. Meanwhile, if you have thoughts about what you want to see in The Maltese Link, please don't hesitate to write either of us: ccaruana29@hotmail.com or atvella@rogers.com

The Federation of Maltese Living Abroad newsletter, Maltese Link, is distributed free of charge to members of the global Maltese Community. Letters to the editor, comments about the Federation, and requests for information should be addressed to the editor at ccaruana29@hotmail.com The editor has the right to edit material for style and content or refuse publishing material that is in poor taste or potentially libellous. If you do not wish to receive further copies of this newsletter, please send a note to the Secretary, Albert Vella, e-mail: atvella@rogers.com Opinions published here do not necessarily reflect the views of all individual members or the Executive Committee of the FMLA.

â–  MAY 2011

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Maltese Link - May 2011