On the invitation of Archbishop Sir Guilford Young, ministry was set up in Hobart in 1961, with three Maltese Members settling in Hobart. Besides cross culture tension the Members experienced, these were challenging days for them as their expressions of faith were often misunderstood. The Members however always viewed themselves as part of the wider Church; evangelisation for all and were committed to this.
Under Maurice Mifsud’s leadership, they persevered. Knocking on doors of parishioners in Glenorchy, they gathered around them young people who shared in the saving message that God loves us all. In November 1961, teaching begins in the old, now demolished St John’s church, Glenorchy.
The ministry had its base from the community house at Sandy Bay. In 1963 another outreach programme began at St Camillus de Lellis church, Warrane, Following the collapse of the Tasman Bridge in 1975, the mission increased on the eastern shore resulting in two independent Centres of the SDC in Hobart.
Archbishop Young, champion of lay initiatives, who was a mentor and avid supporter of the SDC in Hobart visited the Generalate of the SDC in Malta during a break in Vatican Council II. During a Mass in 1986 to celebrate 25 years of the SDC’s mission in Hobart, he said that the work of the Members was impossible to measure in a quantative kind of way for they came quietly, asked for nothing and sustained his hope through their example in bringing others closer to Christ.
In 2009, Charles Caruana, the last Maltese who came to Hobart, left to retire in Malta. Maurice, who died in Malta in 2010, Charles and the Members worked tirelessly and now the legacy has been passed onto local Members to continue.
Over the years the dynamics of the ministry have changed from supporting catholic families in the early days, pre-evangelisation and education in faith in the 1970s through to the 1990s. Today the emphasis is on smaller groups who seek the faith.
The Members in Hobart participate in sacramental programmes in various parishes in the Archdiocese of Hobart as well as conducting an outreach programme that connects with children from the outer suburbs of Hobart.
Preca Centre Hobart – 500 Sandy Bay Road