It was twenty years ago, precisely on Sunday 27 August 2000, that Mgr Emmanuel Mercieca, Archpriest Emeritus of St George’s, entered the house of the Father. It is our duty to remember him and keep him in our prayers.
Mgr Emmanuel Mercieca was born in Victoria on 24 December 1910, Christmas Eve, and baptized at St George’s. He was ordained to the priesthood on 25 July 1937 by Bishop Michael Gonzi, who was then Bishop of Gozo, at St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta. He lectured in Moral Theology at the Gozo Diocesan Seminary for many years. He was also Prefect of Studies in the same institution. He served as Chancellor for various pastoral visits and acted as vicar-substitute for Mgr Michael Cefai, his predecessor as Parish Priest of St George’s. Besides being Ecclesiastical Assistant for the Catholic Action, he was also Canon of the Cathedral Chapter. Mgr Mercieca was instrumental in the process that led to the foundation of the new college of canons for St George’s in 1975. He did his best to see his native parish honoured with the honours that were due to it. It was in 1976 that Bishop Nichols J. Cauchi chose him to be the first Archpriest of St George’s Parish; until then, Mgr Michael Cefai was Archpriest of the Cathedral Chapter as well as Parish Priest of St George’s. It was in 1976 that the two offices were separated from each other.
Mgr Mercieca is one of the most illustrious benefactors of St George’s. He was the mastermind behind the building of the new parish centre of St George’s. He enlarged the sacristy of the Basilica and presided over the administrative reformation of St George’s Parish. In the early eighties he decided that the parish should have its own magazine which was called Il-Belt Victoria and which is still published on a regular basis. A full account of his life and works can be read in the number 116 issue of Il-Belt Victoria. Mgr Mercieca, a distant relative of Archbishop Ġużeppi Mercieca, was Protonotario Apostolico and Prelate ad honorem of His Holiness as well as Knight Chaplain of the Constantinian Sovereign Military Order of St George. His funeral was held on Tuesday 19 August 2000 and the Funeral Mass was celebrated by Bishop Nikol Ġ. Cauchi.
In 2000, our parish lost two other priests: Mgr Carmelo Sacco and Can. Nicholas Vella Apap. As parishioners of St George’s we should keep Mgr Emmanuel Mercieca and the other deceased members of our parish clergy in our prayers.