High Commissioner of Malta in India, H.E. Reuben Gauci, visits Maltese Religious Community in Kolkata (Calcutta) and Dumka

Reference Number:  , Press Release Issue Date: Jan 04, 2021
 
Between 24 December 2020 and 27 December 2020, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Malta in New Delhi, H.E. Mr. Reuben Gauci, accompanied by his wife, Dr. Olga V. Gauci and his daughter, Miss Alisa Gauci, together with Second Secretary responsible for cultural affairs, Ms. Eugenie Megally, embarked on a journey to Kolkata ( Calcutta)  in India’s West Bengal and Dumka in Jharkhand.

On the High Commissioner’s first stop in Kolkata, on Christmas Eve, the delegation met with Maltese Bro. Karmenu Duca of the Congregation of Saint Mother Teresa ( Missionaries of Charity ), who very generously took the Maltese delegation to the tomb of Mother Teresa, which lies in the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity run by the nuns of Mother Teresa, which was also Mother Teresa’s home. The Maltese High Commissioner was the first person to be received by the Mother House since India went on a nationwide lockdown in March 2020 due to the COVID19 pandemic. He placed a wreath of flowers from the Government and People of Malta on Saint Mother Teresa’s Tomb.


Bro. Duca, once a teacher in Malta in the late 1980s, has since left the islands to serve in several missionary works abroad including in Los Angeles, California in the U.S.A, as well as in South America. Bro. Karmenu Duca has returned once again to Kolkata, where he has been caring for men with HIV and women who suffer from Mental Health issues. Despite the emotionally challenging situation that Bro. Duca works in, he is known by his fellow Brothers to be a colorful person who has brought many rays of joy to the complex through his Bengali inspired art within the premises.


Later on, the High Commissioner and his family, together with Ms. Megally, were greeted by Malta’s Honorary Consul in Kolkata, Mr. Ashok Kumar Jhunjhunwala and his family.


On Christmas day, the High Commissioner and his delegation embarked on a seven-hour car ride to Dumka in the adjoining state of Jharkhand. In Dumka, the delegation had the pleasure of meeting with Sr. Emanuela ( Emanuel ) Borg  ( known as taż-Żundajru ), Fr. Paul Aquilina SJ, Fr. Joseph Gauci Sacco SJ and Ms. Marcette Buttigieg, all missionaries in the state of Jharkhand. Sr. Emanuela Borg ( nun of the Sisters of Charity ), Fr. Paul Aquilina SJ and Fr. Joseph Gauci Sacco SJ, have been in India for over sixty years. They arrived in India in the late 1950s and have spent their lifetime educating the less privileged as well as caring for indigenous peoples in the region known as the Adivasi. Ms. Marcette Buttigieg  has been in India for the past forty years, caring for the sick and for people with special needs, while also introducing new technologies and methods of education to communities which remain disconnected from the large metropolis.


These four outstanding people are the only remaining Maltese missionaries in Dumka. Through the years, they have managed to learn the local tribal languages of the Santals, Bengali and Hindi. Their work, remarkable dedication and a lifetime of effort, is truly inspiring.The pioneers of the Santal Mission in the region in the 1920s, were mostly Maltese Jesuits with only a couple of other missionaries from other European countries.

 

During this decade, the small town of Dumka hosted the Malta Mission Fund, a lay Catholic organisation, which, together with the Jesuits, built a school, a college, as well as a dormitory for college-level female students. The Government of Malta also funded a basketball pitch in 2014.


In this first official visit by a Maltese High Commissioner to the Maltese community in the Dumka, these Maltese Religious people had the pleasure of sharing a blessed Christmas Mass in Maltese on 26th December 2020 with the High Commissioner and his delegation,  getting heartfelt recognition for their remarkable work and strength through their decades of service.

High Commissioner Reuben Gauci together with the Malta’s Honorary Consul in Kolkata, Mr. Ashok Kumar Jhunjhunwala and his family 

H.C. Reuben Gauci accompanied by his wife and daughter, together with Second Secretary responsible for cultural affairs 

High Commissioner Reuben Gauci together with all missionaries in the state of Jharkhand 

High Commissioner Reuben Gauci with Maltese Bro. Karmenu Duca of the Congregation of Saint Mother Teresa