Society of Christian Doctrine is the official name of the Society given by the local Church in its approval in 1932. Various other names were tried out before but failed to gain approval. Among these names we find Societas Papidi that was to refer to the respect and obedience the Members had to give to the Pope as Head of the Catholic Church.
Another name was Istituto Giovanni Battista, a name which reflected the love the Members had for their Patron who had been chosen in the early years of the Society.
However in Malta, the Society is up until the present popularly and most commonly known as M.U.S.E.U.M. This name also originated in its early days and came about from a suggestion made by a young Member named Saviour Muscat, who recommended that the Society might be called MUSEUM. Since every country holds its treasures in its museums, the Society treasured the two most precious things within our faith: the Bible and the teaching of our Faith. Fr Preca later added a new layer of meaning to this name when he interpreted each letter in museum as follows: Magister Utinam Sequatur Evangelium Universus Mundus, which in English reads: Divine Teacher may the whole world follow the Gospel.
Rule of life
The Members of the Society are bound by a Rule first approved by the Church in Malta, in 1932, and which was later renewed in the General Chapter of 1999.
The Society has a number of centres located at the heart of towns and villages within the context of a parish. Children attend these centres, first to receive formation for the reception of the Sacraments, and later for more comprehensive life-long faith formation.
Youths who choose to further their knowledge of the SDC and also aspire to discern their vocation can join to attend a five year formation course specifically designed for SDC Candidates.
The Incorporated Members practise celibacy and the Rule encourages a Christian way of life by frequent reception of the sacraments and a life of prayer. In addition to mass and communion, the Members are required to pray daily from the The Watch, a book of prayers, written by Fr Preca, with a prayer to be recited if and when possible every fifteen minutes of the day.
The Members support themselves by work and live a secular life. Although initially the majority of the Members were manual workers, today SDC members come from all walks of life and from a wide range of professions and trades.
The Members daily attend at their assigned Centre to participate in the Society's apostolate. Apart from activities earmarked for children, youths and adults, the Members spend time everyday to study and pray together. Where the members are numerous, as in Malta and Melbourne, a meeting is also held every Wednesday in their respective Regional Houses for an ongoing formation programme, where guest speakers are invited to deliver talks on a number of themes.