The Franciscan youth movement known as Zghafra which meets at Birkirkara was initiated in Valletta back in 1992 under the direction of Fr. Joe Mamo together with a group of enthusiastic youths. At the time the group reunited for meetings every first Friday of the month at 7:30pm and had a mass every first Sunday of the month at 10:30am in Valletta. Right from that time the group was very active in the spiritual and social aspects. The group traveled abroad to attend the “Convenio dei Giovani Verso Assisi” four times between 1992 and 1995 and visited Poland and Jerusalem amongst other places. They were frequent visiting helpers in orphanages such as the Creche, old-people’s homes like The Little Sisters of the Poor and residential homes such as Id-Dar tal-Providenza and Dar Santa Marija. Also they regularly organized get-togethers, parties and barbecues with the intention of raising funds for the group itself or for factions or groups in society who were more needy.
With the arrival of the relics of St. Anthony in Birkirkara in May 1995, the group began moving out from Valletta and finally became established in Birkirkara in Novemeber 1995. Here the unit did not lack in enthusiasm still organizing activities, barbecues, weekends in Buskett and retreats in Gozo. Many things changed since the founding of the group back in 1992, the most significant change being that of the director which from Fr. Joe was passed on to Evelyn and Godwin Vella Clark, then to Fr. Arthur and Fr.Tonio until we reach today’s director Fr.Charles. The group itself went through several changes with people leaving and joining the group through the years.
Nowadays the Zghafra Movement is a group of 12 youths which meets on a weekly basis as a minimum. Meetings are held every Friday at around 8:30pm to discuss and organize religious and social activities or to celebrate the Eucharist as a group with Fr.Charles in the Kappella ta’ Santa Klara. As a routine, once a month, the group has a monthly discussion on the gospel of the following Sunday, also on a monthly basis the group re-unites for mass with Fr. Charles as celebrant.
The group is very active in its organization of activities. In the last year in fact the Zghafra movement organized several masses for youths including one at Wardija, Spiritual exercises in the Kappella Santa Klara, various fund raising barbecues and cookouts as well as a Christmas Breakfast. The most significant activity of the group is the Festa Zghafra, a festival organized by the members of the movement in aid of various charities or organizations in October. Each year the popularity of the Festa Zghafra increases and reaches further out with its promise of an enjoyable family evening rich in entertainment and good food provided by the group itself. This single evening takes up much of the group’s time and energy for several weeks throughout summer but it definitely illustrates the enthusiasm of youth at its best.
Anyone interested in joining the group is welcome to do so by just appearing at any one of the Friday meetings during the year at 8:30pm, or contact Fr. Alfons at the Franciscan convent in Birkirkara our find us on Facebook (Zghafra).
| Local Spiritual Director for Franciscan Youths: