At an event held for the second year running at the Verdala Palace in appreciation of all fathers, President of Malta George Vella said that even though the COVID-19 pandemic has placed new burdens on families, it also has a positive aspect because the slowed-down pace of life it has brought about has given parents the opportunity to spend more time together as a family and with their children.
This event, in the form of a seated reception for a limited number of fathers from all over Malta and Gozo—in accordance with the regulations of the Health Authorities against the spread of the pandemic—took place weeks after the official Father’s Day as the authorities’ guidelines did not allow it to be organised in this format at that point in time.
Accompanied by Mrs Vella, the President greeted those fathers who had their jobs or business threatened, with all the anxiety this has caused. He mentioned how this anxiety continued to increase since many parents had to stay at home because their children were not going to school, while they themselves had to work from home. He congratulated all those who became fathers for the first time this year and saluted those fathers who got injured or passed away in the same period. He paid tribute, in particular, to those fathers who died as a result of the pandemic and expressed solidarity with their relatives who could not pay their last respects due to the circumstances.
The President remarked that being a father does not only mean a biological tie to the child but the definition also includes all those who, in one way or another serve as a father figure, including those who have adopted or fostered, and even grandparents. He also referred to elderly fathers who are in residences for the elderly and praised the resilience they have shown in the last year and a half: “The title of father comprises duties and responsibilities. At the same time, it is a privilege to see children grow up and find their way… What defines a father is not the fact that he is the biological father, but the work he does to raise, to guide, to help the children who are growing up and instil in them those values and ideas that they need to grow with and use in the future.”