Fr George Preca’s Response
Saint George Preca opted for the way of teaching the people rather then to simply let the people go by their devotions. Thus he often emphasised and repeated: teach the people so that they could be convinced of their beliefs, no matter who and what challenged them. Using his charismatic force and personality, he wielded a silent army for Christ: men and women who, without radically distinguishing themselves from common people by dress or uniform, would nevertheless be so well instructed and formed in their spiritual life that they would quietly shine forth before others with their example in their everyday life, whether at home or at work. Moreover, at a time when the laity had not yet been officially recognised as important in the mission of spreading the Gospel, Saint George Preca entrusted his followers with the responsibility of teaching catechism. His little group of men and women metamorphosed into the Society of Christian Doctrine (known locally as M.U.S.E.U.M.).
Despite the now-acknowledged greatness and merit of Fr George Preca, the early phase of his apostolic work was no bed of roses; rather, the thorns that stung his side were many and sharp. Cried down in the newspapers despite the fact that people continued to flock to him for advice, the climax came when the Vicar General Mgr Salvatore Grech ordered him on behalf of the Archbishop to close down all the catechetical centres he had opened. These oppositions were no novelty in the Church. Most of the great founders met with the same treatment. Saint George Preca, like Don Bosco, was accused of being mad, and, like St Philip Neri, was criticised for his acts of piety. The same Archbishop who ordered Saint George Preca to close down and would never approve of his Society, was soon to give him and his society a free hand over all his diocese, trusting them and confiding in them unreservedly.