It is with great sadness that we hear of the news of the demise of Mgr Coronato Grima, one of the priests hailing from our Parish of St George and whose name is synonymous with the smallest diocese of the Catholic world, the Diocese of Gibraltar. Gibraltar, a British colony on the very edge of the Iberian peninsula, stand at the southernmost tip of Spain, controlling the strait that connects the Mediterranean with the Atlantic Ocean.
Fr Coronatus Grima was born in Victoria on 18 August 1949 in a large family. One of his brothers also became a priest, Mgr George Grima, whose memory we can never forget. Fr Coronatus was ordained to the priesthood by the late St Pope Paul VI in St Peter’s Square on the 29th of June 1975.
Three months after his ordination at 26 he was sent to Gibraltar to help the clergy there, for what was believed at the time, would be a period of one year; he stayed there for the greatest part of his life. He worked in various parishes, mainly St Joseph’s where he served as Parish Priest. He was eventually appointed Chancellor of the diocese. Hundreds of people on the colony will remember him as a zealous priest always ready to address the needs of his parishioners and full of love and dedication to one and all.
Father Grima was installed as an Honorary Canon of St George’s in 1982; he was also a member of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George. He was made a Monsignor while still in Gibraltar.
After more than thirty-five years spent on Gibraltar, Mgr Grima came back to Gozo in 2010. However, he did not enjoy his retirement due to weak health. Over the period of the last ten years, Dun Koronat lost a brother-in-law, two sisters and his brother priest Mgr George Grima as he continued to bear with love and patience the Cross that the Lord Jesus trusted him with. His love for the Church, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St Joseph and, last but not least, St George is a fact known to one and all. Even during his long illness, he still made himself available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the sacristy of St George which is only a few metres away from his own residence. He was looked after by his brothers and sisters but especially by his aunt Mary who lives just across from his home.
Fr Grima died on the early morning of Wednesday 22 July, Feast of St Mary Magdalen. Gentle and full of zeal for life as well as interested in what was taking place in his native parish to the very last moments, Mgr Grima will be fondly remembered not only by his friends in Gibraltar but also by the parishioners of St George’s and the people of Victoria.
May God grant him eternal rest!