After almost 15 years of leading the Church in Gozo, Bishop Mario Grech will shortly be taking up his new role, to which he was appointed by Pope Francis, as Secretary General to the Bishops’ Synod. He will take the place of Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri who will be retiring. At the Vatican, Bishop Grech is also a member of the Pontifical Council which promotes unity among Christians.
Meanwhile, tomorrow on the occasion of the 156th anniversary from the setting up of the Gozo diocese, the new Bishop Anton Teuma will be making his solemn entry into the Cathedral.
Part of the ritual of the appointment of a new Bishop at a diocese involves a solemn entry into the Cathedral which is often the same day when he is consecrated as Bishop. Because of the circumstances of the pandemic the consecration was held at the St John the Baptist rotunda in Xewkija, as it is the most spacious church in Gozo.
For this reason, the solemn entry into the Cathedral will be held today, Wednesday 16 September, when the new Bishop will also take possession of the cathedra, which means the seat or throne on which the Bishop sits. This is the word which Cathedral comes from, which is the seat of the Bishop in his diocese. Symbolically, this means that his mission is that of a shepherd and teacher of the local church in the name of Christ himself, the Great Shepherd.
For this occasion, which will be transmitted live on TVM2 at 6.30 p.m., a song has been released by the Diocesan Youth Choir, written by Francesco Pio Attard with music by Richard Grech. With the theme “Ibqa’ Magħna” (Stay with us), the lyrics are based on a motto chosen by Bishop Teuma for his episcopate “And he continued walking with them” taken from the story of the disciples of Emmaus .
The ceremony will take place on the same day as the anniversary of when the Gozo diocese was founded, on 16 September 1864. In this diocese there are 15 parishes, and 106 parish priests, which includes those who are active or retired due to age or illness. There are also 42 Gozitan priests who are overseas, including those who are doing missionary work. Five Gozitan Bishops are serving the Church abroad: 2 at the Vatican and others in Libya, Honduras and Peru. This is apart from various men and women of the cloth who are serving the Church both locally and in other continents.
At the Gozo seminary, there are ten young men currently undergoing their formation to become priests. The Gozo Church is also committed to various social work such as with Caritas and the Arka Foundation and is involved in education with two secondary schools and four primary schools.