Tuesday, July 17, 2007:

Joy at Mgr Alfred Xuereb's new role as Assistant Personal Secretary to His Holiness

Pope Benedict XVI has chosen Mgr Alfred Xuereb, an esteemed member of the Gozitan clergy and much loved at St George’s parish, as his new assistant personal secretary, flanking Mgr Georg Ganswein, the German priest that the Pope brought with him to the Apostolic Palace.  The archpriest of St George's basilica, Mgr Joseph Farrugia, gave the announcement before the end of Pontifical Mass, on the "Gozitan" St George's Day, to the general approbation of the congregation.

The huge congregation that crammed the basilica broke into spontaneous and thunderous applause when the archpriest said that he was honoured and overjoyed to announce that Mgr Xuereb, “one of our priests” had been chosen to be one of the two assistant personal secretaries to the Holy Father.  The announcement, as yet unofficial, had already started its rounds of the world media, and Il-Mument, one of the local Maltese-language Sunday newspapers, was featuring the news.

At the St George’s Pontifical High Mass Mgr Xuereb was one of the principal concelebrants with HL Mgr Mario Grech, together with Mgr Farrugia, Mgr Salv Borg and Mgr Carmelo Scicluna.  Mgr Xuereb is an honorary member of the Collegiate Chapter.   The bishop of Gozo is ex officio the Chapter's Dean and First Dignitary.

Mgr Xuereb had just flown in from Rome for an annual holiday that coincides with the feast of St George and the solemnity of the Assumption.  After his family home, one of Fr Alfred's first visits whenever he is in Gozo itakes him to St George's basilica.  Fr Alfred’s interest in the life of our parish has never diminished and his friendliness and humble disposition is exemplary.  During his stays at his family home in Victoria he says daily Mass at the parish church.

Mgr Xuereb’s nomination follows the appointment of the Pope’s former assistant personal secretary as coadjutor archbishop of the Latin-rite Archdiocese of Lviv, Ukraine.  Msgr. Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki, 46, served as assistant personal secretary to Pope John Paul II from 1996 until the pope’s death and returned to the Apostolic Palace as assistant personal secretary to Pope Benedict.

It was the Italian newspapers who first reported “that Maltese Msgr. Alfred Xuereb, an official in the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, would move into the vacant secretary’s role”.

In addition to running the pope’s private office, the Pope’s personal secretaries live in the papal household, concelebrate Mass with the pope each morning and eat their meals with him. Both of the secretaries accompany the pope on foreign trips and at least one of them joins the pope for his annual summer vacation in the Italian Alps and at the papal summer villa in Castel Gandolfo.

Mgr Xuereb on October 14, 1958, and became a priest on May 26, 1984. He celebrated his first Solemn High Mass at St George’s basilica in the context of the July festivities in honour of St George, protector of the island.

After Archpriest Farrugia’s announcement of Fr Alfred’s new role at the service at the Holy Father, Bishop Mario Grech expressed the Christian community’s joy and promised his personal and the community’s support in prayer and love for Mgr Xuereb ministry at the service of the apostle Peter. 

After the conclusion of the solemn liturgy, Mgr Xuereb was surrounded by well-wishers who rushed to congratulate him and to assure him of the parish community’s prayer.  Since his father, Anthony, was ill at home, his parents and sister Sylvia were not present in the church.  But they were following what was taking place in the basilica through the parish community radio Lehen il-Belt Victoria.

The administration of this website joins HL Bishop Grech and Archpriest Farrugia in wishing Mgr Xuereb a continued and fruitful ministry in Rome.

More information about Mgr Xuereb's biography can be read in the write-up for March 10, 2005.  More photographs will possibly be uploaded later.  The photo that appears was kindly provided by JM Zammit.

Mgr Alfred Xuereb on St George's day.
Mgr Alfred Xuereb on St George's day.