Current Affairs
UPDATED: Bishop Mario Grech to be made Cardinal by Pope Francis – got to know when he received a call from Malta

Bishop Mario Grech is to be appointed Cardinal, the first Gozitan to hold this post. The announcement was made by Pope Francis today after the noon Angelus.

The name of Monsignor Mario Grech – Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops and Bishop Emeritus of Gozo was the first of 13 names announced by Pope Francis, who will be appointed Cardinal in a Consistory to be held on the last Saturday of November .

Persons close to Monsignor Grech told TVM that the news was a complete surprise, so much so that when the Pope made his announcement, Monsignor Grech was walking in Rome, and someone from Malta called him and informed him that the Pope had mentioned him.

Monsignor Grech was recently appointed Secretary-General of the Synod of Bishops, after having served as Bishop of Gozo for 13 years.

Monsignor Grech will be appointed cardinal next month, during the Consistory on 28 November.

In a statement the Government congratulated Monsignor Grech, pointing out that he will be the third Maltese Cardinal in history. The President of Malta, the Nationalist Party and the Labour Party also sent their congratulations.

He is the third Maltese to serve in this prestigious post, the last of whom, Cardinal Prospero Grech, died at the beginning of this year. This is the first time that a Gozitan will be a Cardinal after leading this diocese for almost 15 years. He will be among the electing Cardinals with the right to take part in conclaves for the appointment of a head of the Catholic Church. Six of the new Cardinals are Italians including Father Raniero Cantalamessa, who is the Pope’s preacher.

The nomination of a Maltese Cardinal was welcomed by the highest authorities of the country.

President George Vella congratulated Monsignor Grech on this new role urging him to make use of his vast knowledge, determination and experience for the common good.

Prime Minister Robert Abela and the government said the appointment was an honor and a privilege for Bishop Grech and the country as a whole. The Government said that Monsignor Grech was known for his speeches which referred to many social issues and was known for making very strong arguments in favor of strengthening the society.

The Leader of the Opposition Bernard Grech said that this appointment was an appropriate recognition by the Pope for the work of Bishop Grech and wished him to continue to be guided in his work by goodness.

The Bishops of Malta and Gozo congratulated the diocese of Gozo and the family of the elected cardinal. Archbishop Charles Scicluna, Bishop Anton Teuma and Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi promised him their prayers to continue serving the Universal Church according to the will of God.