The broken and barren society that we in Malta, and others elsewhere in the west, find ourselves in, is one of our own making. We have failed and we have fallen. We have failed to pass on the Catholic Faith and subsequently we have fallen under the wiles of Satan.
This is a generalisation of course. I know several true and heroic parents, catechists and priests. Nevertheless far too many of my generation (born 1951) have never grown up (never matured psychologically and emotionally that is) and are now succeeding in foisting their “hippy love-child” philosophy on the world, and on the Church. This tendency prevents the formation of true and virtuous Catholic men. Our “Church Schools” in Malta turn out, in the main, “cafeteria Catholics”, non-Catholics and a significant proportion of anti-Catholics!
A happy exception to this pattern is Chavagnes International College, a boys’ full boarding school on the British Public School model. If cooperated with, Chavagnes will lead the boy on his long and perilous river crossing (overcoming treacherous currents) from boyhood to the distant shore of manhood, whilst forming a virtuous man of him. The formation is good and wholesome. The headmaster, masters and the chaplain individually are good role models for the pupils. They live in College and lead the boys morning, noon and night, in the Chapel (daily Mass, and Prayers, Choir and Altar-Service), on the playing-field, on cross-country runs and on scout camps. The boys mould each other; true, durable friendships are formed.
Chavagnes upholds the centuries-old tradition of educative formation through the docens-discens, master-disciple system. This bears fruit. Over its short, 15 year, history (Chavagnes opened its doors in 2002), there have been vocations to the priesthood from the pupils as well as the masters, and boys have been received into the Catholic Church. Year by year school-leavers gain places in high-ranking universities. Chavagnes will do its utmost to develop each pupil’s potential and, by God’s Grace, it usually succeeds.
I write from personal experience. I am a retired pilot, medical doctor and father of three, with my early formation from Downside and Sandhurst. In 2007 my wife and I entrusted our eleven tear old son to Chavagnes. He was then an intelligent but frustrated and uncooperative, poorly- progressing schoolboy. He emerged from Chavagnes seven years later a mature, well-balanced gentleman, a practising Catholic with proven leadership skills who is academically well qualified (now halfway through a M.Eng. Aerospace course at Bristol). This is thanks to God’s Grace wrought through the masters. His younger brother, five years his junior, is currently in the process. It is most gratifying for us to see that Chavagnes is bringing forth the man in him too!
Therefore, let all who are truly faithful to, and who love, the Catholic Church demand and drive through, with divine assistance, true and faithful Catholic education and formation of men. The future prospects of the Catholic Church in our own countries depend on it.
Dr. P.M. Micallef-Eynaud
MD, MSc PHMed, BA Rel.St., MA Theol.,
St. Julians, Malta.