Priest In Training Follows The Steps Of St Paul

Over the last week the Chaplaincy in Malta and Gozo has hosted an Ordinand on his Pastoral Placement. Andy Birks who is a student with the South East Institute of Theological Education and a full time police officer with the Met visited during the 70th Anniversary of Operation Pedestal. The Santa Maria Convoy as it is also known saved Malta in 1942 from starvation and capitulation to the Axis forces and was hailed by Winston Churchill as a victory .

He said " The reward justified the price exacted. Revictualled and replenished with ammunition and vital stores,the strenth of Malta revived" Andy is shown here with the Prime Minister of Malta Dr Lawrence Gonzi,The British High Commissioner Ms Louis Stanton,The first Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope and  The Commander of the Armed Forces of Malta Brigadier Martin Xuereb just before the wreath laying ceremony that concluded a Memorial Service .An Armed Forces of Malta ship transported the wreath layers out into Grand Harbour for the moving commemoration. The British Ships HMS Pembroke and HMS Middleton represented the Royal Navy and no fewer than 7 veterans from the original convoy were present and embarked.

Andy Birks, who is hoping to be ordained into full time ministry in 2014, spent a week accompanying the priests and reader in the Chaplaincy gaining some insights into their unique ministry in the Southern Mediterranean.

Information provided by Rev Simon Godfrey, Chancellor of St Paul's Pro-Cathedral, Valletta