THE MALTESE PAST PUPILS
OF DON BOSCO NSW AUSTRALIA INC.
A brief history of the Association
The Maltese Past Pupils of Don Bosco NSW Australia Incorporated is an Association of Salesian 'old boys' who frequented in their youth a Salesian college, school, oratory etc. In addition to the above, the Association embraces in its fold men and women who although did not frequent in their youth any Salesian college, etc. nevertheless, because of their strong desire to get to know Don Bosco and the work of his Salesian Congregation, are welcome to join the Association, provided they are willing to accept and abide by the rules and regulations of the Constitution of the Association.
The Association was originally founded in 1972 as "The Salesian Old Boys Association of NSW", by three "old boys" of the Salesian Oratory in Sliema (Malta), namely Fr.Carmelo Sciberras, Alfred Fenech, and its first President, Joseph Zerafa. Members such as Charles Catania, Philip Bonnici, Charles Muscat, Joseph Borg, Victor Fenech, Louis Sammut and Albert Borg (deceased), were among the thirty original members that formed the nucleus of the fledgling Association. They were a happy group of ex-Sliema Oratorians, who had migrated to Australia in the early fifties. By the early seventies as hard working family men they felt the need to somehow rekindle their enthusiasm for their Salesian upbringing and love for Don Bosco, by forming the original Association known then as mentioned earlier, as “The Salesian Old Boys Association of NSW." However, the Salesian Old Boys Association of the seventies, which was neither incorporated nor established on fundamental professional lines, lasted unfortunately for about seven odd years. Nevertheless, a lot of good and worthwhile time was had by all, as we had already formed by then a very strong bond of Salesian friendship between us.
RE-BIRTH OF THE ASSOCIATION
It was in the latter stages of 1986 when the well-known Mark Caruana, an ex-Sliema Oratorian himself, on a visit to Malta, was greatly encouraged by the Rev. Fr.Joseph Mangion SDB, (deceased July 1997) to try to resurrect the Association from its long slumber. Mark did not waste any time, and true to his promise, on his return home contacted Joseph Zerafa, and together started the ball rolling to once again hoist the banner of Don Bosco and his Salesians by the ex-Salesian Oratorians of both Sliema and Victoria (Gozo). The year 1987 will always be one to be remembered. For exactly in January of that year, all those ex-Salesian Oratorians, who were contacted earlier assembled in a festive mood for a historical reunion at the La Valette Social Centre in Blacktown, NSW. The Rev.Fr. Paul Baron OFM Cap. and the Rev. Fr. Ugo DeMaria OFM Cap. graciously accepted to celebrate Holy Eucharist in the St. Francis Chapel, which was packed for the occasion. A memorable, moving homily on the life of Don Bosco was given by Fr. Ugo thus providing a very strong impetus to the re-forming of the Association. One cannot but thank both Fr. Paul and Fr.Ugo for their part they played on that unforgettable day.
On that same evening, during a social get-together that took place after the religious service, it was unanimously and happily agreed upon, to immediately go ahead with plans to re-establish the Association, on proper solid foundations and guidelines. An interim Committee was then formed and with the help of God and Don Bosco, the Association slowly but surely started gaining momentum. One can truly say in all humility, that the rebirth of our Association was nothing short of a living miracle. On advice from the hierarchy of the Salesian Congregation, the original name of the Association (Salesian Old Boys Association) was changed to "Maltese Past Pupils of Don Bosco" to properly reflect the composition of the Association, having already embraced both male and female participants. In compliance with established standards, steps were taken to ensure that the Association was legally incorporated, and subsequently registered and approved as an authorised fund raiser Association. These measures were the first initiatives which the then Management Committee took to build the Association as a truly professional movement, inspired by the charisma of Don Bosco and the Salesian way of life.
Once it was agreed upon to reorganise the Association in accordance with proper requirements and have a written Constitution to provide the necessary guiding principles, no time was wasted in clearly explaining the primary scopes of the Association, which all members pledge to observe to the best of their ability. These are:
1. to help spread the spirit of Don Bosco by observing and practicing the principles of Salesian Catholic education, and
2. to generate charitable activity to help alleviate poverty, promote the advancement of education and pastoral work, especially in Third World Countries.
Considering the nature of its very existence and the visionary goals the Association has set to achieve, one can really appreciate how significant the Association's motto " to give and not count the cost" has become to the hard working members, the many friends and generous sponsors that together, make this Association a truly " Salesian Family of Don Bosco. The professional way with which the affairs of the Association are conducted and the integrity of the leadership and general membership alike, have been instrumental in attracting others to become also part and parcel of this Salesian Family of Don Bosco. With great joy, the Association has welcomed with open arms a good number of exemplary men and women who although originally were never in contact with the Salesians of Don Bosco in their youth, nevertheless, they too have been attracted by the charisma of Don Bosco, and today are playing their part in helping the Association to live up to the aims and objectives it has set from the outset.
The Committee, made up entirely of dedicated volunteers, has meetings almost every month, sometimes even more often if necessary while members’ meetings are held every two months at present alternating between Bankstown Recreational Trotting Club and Wentworthville Leagues Club. Attendance at the members’ meeting is voluntary. The association organises the Feast of St. John Bosco and participates in religious functions such as the celebration of the Our Lady of Victories at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney and other lay events. It also organises social and fund raising activities to help underprivileged youth like the Salesian Missions amongst others. The main fundraiser has been for a very long time the Annual Charity Gala Ball and the Guessing Competition. Up to June 2010 the grand total donated has reached the sum of over four hundred and twenty five thousand dollars. It is sincerely hoped that the reader of this brief but incisive history of the association, “The Maltese Past Pupils of Don Bosco" has been given adequate information to appreciatively understand what the association is all about.
The current office bearers are as follows:
For further information please contact the Secretary on (02) 9631 8660