On Monday, December 14, 2020, a group of Form 4 (year 10) students at St. Margaret College Secondary School, Verdala, Cospicua accepted Pope Francis’ invitation to youths and composed some few verses of tenderness to a lonely elderly woman for Christmas as instructed by senior teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc. Students were invited to reflect upon the Pope’s Angelus message (dated July 26, 2020) and accept the invitation to reach out to their grandparents or the elderly who may be lonely or living on their own.
In his message, His Holiness Pope Francis says; “Our invitation to young people is to reach out to the loneliest elderly people in their neighbourhood or parish and send them a hug by means of a phone call, a video call or by sending an image. Wherever possible or whenever the health emergency will allow it, we invite young people to make the embrace even more concrete by visiting the elderly in person,”
Thus teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc made his students aware of an elderly woman who is a widow and who lives alone in a village in Malta. As she never had children, she dedicated most of her free time feeding cats in the streets and very often she slept outdoors surrounded by cats. Now she is too frail to go outdoors and she has commissioned another person to take care of her cats. Probably she would spend the Christmas festivities indoors and so teacher Martin thought it would be a kind gesture inviting his students to write some few words of comfort to this elderly woman in particular.
Pope Francis is inviting youths to “Use the inventiveness of love, make phone calls, video calls, send messages, listen to them and, where possible, in compliance with health care regulations, go to visit them, too. Send them a hug,”… “Do not leave them by themselves.”
St. Margaret College students accepted the Pope’s invitation and composed some few words of comfort to this elderly woman which teacher Martin would present to her personally on their behalf. The following are some of the students’ words of comfort:
“I wish you a Happy Christmas and good health. Remember that God is always with you and He is smiling at you all the time” by student Isaac Abo Hasson;
“I admire you for your kindness and generosity in taking care of cats. I’m sure that God will reward you for all your kindness” by student Kayleen Busuttil;
“As you might probably spend Christmas alone at home we are all with you and God is always with you as He is our Emmanuel” by student Maya Bartolo;
“Keep strong in your hope and trust in God so you can start experiencing the love of heaven from earth” by student Aidan Muscat;
“You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Best wishes for Christmas and Happy New Year” by student Elisa Vella;
“As I know that you feed many cats in your village, let me tell you that you have a big golden heart. Best wishes” by student Aceline Grixti;
“You are never alone as we are with you and we all wish you a Happy Christmas” by student Anastasia Darmanin;
“Christmas is a time of joy and so let nothing fill your heart with sadness. Even if now you feel sad, God will change your sadness into joy” by student Kheloud Abdul Rezaq;
“Let us rejoice together this Christmas as Jesus is our SAVIOUR. I wish you peace and joy” by student Lars Bahmuller.
Teacher Martin said that “this exercise was an opportunity for our students to put into practice the Pope’s message for youths. Going through all these brief sentimental words written by my students, I realize how kind and special are our Maltese youths. I am also glad to see Muslim students participating in this exercise as God’s call for kindness is universal”.
As the pandemic is affecting many elderly people, Pope Francis is inviting all young people to make a concrete “gesture of tenderness toward the elderly, especially the loneliest, in their homes and residences, those who have not seen their loved ones for many months” while continuing to follow the health restrictions to curb the spread of the corona virus.
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