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The man who mingles with everyone

Mgr Joseph Mercieca had ordained Mgr Charles Scicluna a priest in 1986. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Mgr Joseph Mercieca had ordained Mgr Charles Scicluna a priest in 1986. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Mgr Charles Scicluna is the type of man who knows how to be around people and respects whoever he is with, and that is the type of person a bishop should be, according to former Archbishop Joseph Mercieca.

He’s a priest with a good head on his shoulders and this means he’s the type who will stand firm

“He entered the seminary when I was Archbishop… I ordained him a priest… When the Holy See asked me to send him to Rome I was glad. It was good to have a person there who knew us and who we could go to in times of need… He added décor to Malta,” Mgr Mercieca said.

Armed with a sheaf of notes to help his memory Mgr Mercieca, who served as Archbishop between 1976 and 2007, recounted how Mgr Scicluna was studying law when he entered the seminary to become a priest about 30 years ago.

But as he started speaking, the 84-year-old soon deviated from his notes and spoke animatedly about Mgr Scicluna’s personality.

“He was the type of man who mingled with everyone and knew how to take a joke and laugh with his friends. I always found him to be a man who was aware of who he was working with and treated them with respect. And he was always very sincere and said what was on his mind,” he said.

When Mgr Scicluna became a priest in 1986, Mgr Mercieca gave him pastoral duties and later sent him to Rome to study canon law.

On his return he gave him work within the Ecclesiastical Tribunal and appointed him vice rector of the Archbishop’s Seminary.

“He is very intelligent and one of those people who likes to have a complete picture of the situation. He’s efficient and does not panic. When the Holy See then asked me to allow him to go to Rome to serve there I accepted the request with pleasure,” he recalled.

When in Rome Mgr Scicluna kept in contact with the Maltese priests who were studying there and organised Sunday gatherings so they could have tea and exchange a few laughs.

He was instrumental in the canonisation of Dun Ġorġ Preca, Malta’s first saint, as he acted as a postulator gathering evidence to prove his miracle.

Mgr Mercieca said when he heard that Mgr Scicluna was being appointed auxiliary bishop he was very glad.

“He’s starting a new life. When in life you don’t seek things out, you should be even more proud and happy. They called on him to become bishop because they knew he was hard-working. He’s a priest with a good head on his shoulders and this means he’s the type who will stand firm,” he said.

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