July 1

Bl. Nazju Falzon, SFO

1813 1865

On the first of July 1813, some years after the beginning of British Rule in Malta, a baby-boy was born to Giuseppe Francesco Falzon, a doctor of laws and Maria Teresa Debono. The baby was baptized on the following day at the Parish Church of Saint Mary of Porto Salvo (St. Dominic), Valletta and was given the names: Rocco, Angelo, Sebastiano, Vincent, Nazju (short for Ignatius) and Rosario. However, he was always called Nazju.

According to Fr. John Mary Galea, Nazju "was still a small boy, when he was known as the little saint because he revealed a propensity to a holy life and had a

very kind and generous heart. Moreover, he always showed great respect towards his parents and all his superiors." Fr. Francesco Falzon, Nazju's brother, said that "Nazju never went to bed before reciting the fifteen decades of the rosary." As soon as he learned to read, he started to recite the Little Office of Our Lady, which he always carried with him.

After finishing his studies, Nazju started to face the problems of daily life. He chose for himself a program of holiness which was based chiefly on the virtues of humility and love of neighbor. All who knew Nazju could say about him that "he worked for the glory of God". Nazju used to help financially those who were in need, even before being asked to do so. At that time, poverty was quite common, because no form of social assistance or social benefits existed.

Following the custom of the day, like other clerics, he did not go to work or even practice his profession as a lawyer, but dedicated himself to living a truly devotional life. He used to spend the morning hours and quite some time in the afternoon and evening in the private chapel which his family had at home. Visitors to his family noticed that Nazju used to perform acts of mortification and that he was very sparing in his food and drink. Lawrence Galea who stayed in Nazju's home for 8 years, says: "He often fasted on other days besides the days of fasting established by the Church." He also manifested poverty in his dress and was very fond of wearing the clerical habit. The virtue of humility was very prominent in his life. Fr. John Galea Muscat says: He blushed whenever he was shown appreciation or was praised by others. He affirmed he was a poor sinner and he attributed to God all his good qualities."

Nazju had a very great devotion towards the Holy Eucharist. Fr. Pacifico Spagnol O.F.M. says: "I came to know Nazju in our church, where many times during the week he used to take part in the first Mass of the day. This Mass was celebrated at 5.00 a.m. Nazju received Holy Communion every time and used to spend quite a long time in Thanksgiving." He took part in the sacrifice of the Mass more than once every day in various churches. He also used to go to Confession frequently, sometimes twice a week. Nazju's main apostolate was that of imparting religious instruction both to children and to adults. Every afternoon, Nazju went to the Church of St. Barbara and to the Church of Our Lady of Victories, both in Valletta. He also gave religious instruc-tion and lessons in Latin, Italian and English, free of charge in his own home, where he also used to help children in their studies. Another branch of Nazju's apostolate was imparting religious instruction to British servicemen, mostly soldiers and some sailors, who at that time happened to be in Malta. The end of Nazju's life was fast approaching. For quite some time now, Nazju began to experience a great weakness. He passed away on the first day of July 1865. He was 52 years old. "Here rests in peace the Cleric Nazju Falzon, a doctor of laws. As he grew up in years, there increased in him the Charity of Christ, which is the greatest of the virtues. This true servant of God was distinguished for his integrity of life and his piety. After his death, he showed no uncertain signs of sanctity, so that he procured reputation among all Born on the 1st July 1813. Died on the 1st July 1865. A friend has from his heart inscribed these words on the tomb of his friend.

Nazju Falzon was beatified on May 9th, 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

Reflection

Prayer, Meditation and The Eucharist were sources of energy and grace that filled him with tender love towards God and gave him meaning for his life dedicated towards humanity. A particular account tells of how during such practices someone saw a flame of fire over Ignatius head in prayer and how a Franciscan Friar saw Ignatius in ecstasy and elevated above grounds after communion. Devotions and admiration towards particular role models of Christian living were also a source of encouragement. His devotion to Mary, to Joseph her Husband, to Joseph Benedict Labre' are well know to those who lived around him and saw him die.

Prayer