It is never the wrong time to stop and think about our priests, the work they do and the sense of dedication for which many of them are known. One such priest is Fr Tonio Galea, one of our own, whom we do not see very often but miss all the time, especially considering the fact that he is one of our younger priests, even if he getting on in years.
Born in Victoria on August 9, 1973, the Feast of Saint Theresa Benedetta of the Cross – known in short as Edith Stein – Tonio is the eldest child and only son of Alfons M. Galea and Gloria née Fenech. He was educated by the Carmelite nuns in Ta’ Kerċem and later attended the Minor Seminary in Victoria. He continued his studies at the Technical Institute, Victoria, and worked with the Water Services Corporation between 1990 and 1996. During this period he was a very active member of the Society of Christian Doctrine (Museum). Between 1996 and 2003, Fr Galea underwent training for priesthood at the Major Seminary.
He was ordained at St George’s Basilica, Victoria, on July 12, 2003, by Cardinal Edward Egan amidst the centenary celebrations that were taking place to commemorate the 1700th anniversary of St George’s Martyrdom. After his ordination, he went to Rome where he served as Vicar of the parish church of St Ignatius of Antioch in Rome where he continued his studies at the Pontifical Lateran University where he specialized in Pastoral Theology. In October 2006 he succeeded Fr Frankie Bajada as parish priest of Munxar to be succeeded four years later by Fr Michael Said.
Presently, Fr Tonio is serving the Church at the Parrocchia Santa Maria Madre del Redentore in the Eternal City. Many of our ex-altarservers at St George’s will remember the great sense of initiative and enthusiasm that he radiated when as seminarian, and later on as deacon, he organised various live-ins in both Gozo and Malta. The Major Seminary at Tal-Virtù was one popular venue where Tonio used to take the altarservers of our parish to spend time in prayer and recreation.
Always carrying his characteristic smile, Tonio is loved by one and all. We all miss him and would like to wish him the best as he turns 46. We are all sure that Nanna Nena, from her bed in hospital, is praying for you as we all are, especially on this day.
Dear Fr Tonio, may you continue to work in God’s vineyard – we all love you and cherish you. Thank you for all you did for our parish whenever you had the chance to serve her – and we all wish you a very Happy Birthday! Buon compleanno!
Thanks to JJP Zammit for some of the photos.