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Fr Robert Farrugia O.Carm (1938 – 2017)

Fr. Hermann Duncan O.Carm writes:

On November 19, 2017, in the Carmelite Priory in Balluta, Fr. Robert Farrugia passed to eternal life at the age of 78.

Born on December 6, 1938, in Valletta to Vincent Farrugia and Maria née Caruana, he was baptised soon after with the name John. As a child he served as an altar boy in the Carmelite basilica-sanctuary in Valletta where his attraction grew towards religious life. John hailed from a family who were blessed with vocations. His two uncles became priests, Fr. Elias and Fr. John Caruana, and their cousin too, Fr. Anastas Caruana. His brother Fr. Joseph joined the Carmelite Order and served as a missionary in Bolivia as well as his cousin Fr. Edmond Caruana who today works in the Vatican City. He also had a cousin, Fr. Charles Caruana, who became a Jesuit.

At 17, John joined the Carmelites, and as was tradition in those days chose the name Robert. He did his novitiate at the Mdina priory and on October 20, 1957, he made his simple profession. On December 11, 1960, he made his solemn profession. He followed philosophical and theological studies at St Cyril College in Balluta. He was ordained priest by Archbishop Michael Gonzi in St John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta on March 14, 1964.

Fr. Robert spent the beginning of his priesthood in the priory of Balluta where he was responsible for the altar boys, spiritual assistant to the Carmelite Tertiaries and spiritual director of the Legion of Mary. In 1970, he moved to the priory of Santa Venera where he spent 45 years and was elected prior twice. Here he served his apostolate duties tirelessly. He was the spiritual director of the seniors’ centre, the Legion of Mary, and was spiritual assistant of ‘Grufan’. He was also the founder and president of the External Feast Committee for many years. He was also awarded the Ġieħ Santa Venera.

He was a religion teacher and rector between 1985 and 1988 at St Elias College and for six years, from 1991 to 1997, he was chosen to be the Carmelite provincial. He was provincial councillor and provincial economist for 18 years.

In 2015, he was sent to the Balluta priory, but his health soon began to deteriorate, so much so that he was constantly in and out of hospital. For as long as he could he celebrated Mass, heard confessions and participated in community life. He welcomed his illness in full accordance with the will of God.

His funeral was held the day after his death in the parish church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Balluta in which several priests and religious participated. He was buried in the Santa Maria Addolorata Cemetery.

Let us pray for his soul, that the Lord may grant him eternal rest and provide us with new vocations.

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