“Cardinal Prospero Grech was a man of great wisdom” – Archbishop Scicluna

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Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna described Cardinal Prospero Grech as a gift of God in his comments to Newsbook.com.mt. He added that Cardinal Prospero Grech was a man of great wisdom.

Cardinal Prospero Grech died at the venerable age of 94. He was given a funeral at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Pope Francis presided over the final part of the rites while the funeral mass was led by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the vice-dean of the College of Cardinals.

In his homily, Cardinal Re traced Cardinal Grech’s life. He explained that while it was a case of sudden death, Cardinal Grech was not unprepared. He highlighted that Cardinal Grech was awaiting his final call after a consecrated life which he dedicated to God and the Augustinian order.

Cardinal Re told the congregation that Cardinal Grech was present in the Basilica on Christmas Eve Mass where he concelebrated mass with Pope Francis. Last Monday, he was at the table with the Augustinian community a few hours before passing away.

The vice-dean noted that Cardinal Grech always found time to carry out intense pastoral work at the Chapel of Saint Monica, where he was willingly also available to listen to confessions. This was done during a time of extraordinary activity of study and teaching.

‘Cardinal Grech was a religious of great doctrine and deep spirituality, who loved the Church and religious life,’ Cardinal Re said, underlining that Cardinal Prospero always placed God first.

Cardinal Prospero Grech

Cardinal Grech was born as Stanley Grech in Birgu in 1925. He took the name Prospero when he joined the Augustinian Order in 1943. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1950 at St John Lateran Basilica. He was the second Maltese priest to be elevated as a cardinal since 1818.

In 1965, he was appointed dean of the new Augustinian Theological Institute in Rome, which operated under the auspices of the theology faculty at the Pontifical Lateran University. In 1969, he founded the “Augustinianum” Institute for Patristic Studies, where he served as dean from 1971 until 1979.

In January 2012 Pope Benedict announced he was making Grech a cardinal. As a cardinal-designate he was first ordained bishop and later a cardinal in February 2012.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, Prior General of the Order of Saint Augustine Fr Alejandro Moral Anton, Augustinian Provincial Fr Leslie Gatt, the Administrator of the Gozo Diocese Mario Grech and several Augustinian brothers were in attendance.

President George Vella and Mrs Vella, Foreign Minister Carmelo Abela and Malta’s ambassador to the Vatican, Frank Zammit, were also present.

The necessary arrangements were made to bring his body back to Malta for the final burial in the coming days. The Augustinian Province in Malta will hold Mass praesente cadavere to give those who wish to pay him their last respects the opportunity to do so. Details will be given at a later stage.