August was a busy month for Karl Curmi, one of eldest altarservers at St George’s Basilica, who, after sitting for an exam earlier on this year, was chosen to join one of the three groups of Maltese altarboys serving at the Vatican this summer. The group, who stayed in Rome between 13 and 27 August 2019, was accompanied also by Jurgen Mario Portelli, another youngster from our parish who serves at St Francis’ Conventual Church in Victoria. This is what Karl had to say about the time spent in Rome.
I will always cherish those two weeks in the Vatican State. They were simply unforgettable. Along with other seventeen altarboys from around Malta and Gozo, this summer, I served at the Basilica of St Peter, the heart of the Catholic Church.
We lodged at St Pius X Preseminary inside the Vatican City. Our days were quite long but worth the effort. We woke up everyday at 5.30am and dressed up in our liturgical vestments. Some of us would prepare the chalices, while others light up the candles of the altars inside the Basilica. At 7.00am each one of us, in turn, would accompany a priest and serve during the mass on one of the many altars at St Peter’s.
On Sunday, we had a lifetime experience when we met His Holiness Pope Francis and also took a group photo with him. Along with our families we were also present for one of the Pope’s Wednesday audiences.
Our vestizzjoni took place on the 22nd of August and was presided by Bishop Vittorio Lanzani, Secretary of the Fabric of St Peter. We were given a red band with the Vatican badge on it to mark our presence there.
In the second week, our families came to visit us and in our free time with them, we visited some places of interest such as San Giovanni in Laterano, San Paolo Fouri le Mura, Piazza Venezia, and the Colosseum.
Overall, it was a holiday like no other which I will never forget.