The people of Qormi this morning started their final farewell to Bishop Mgr Annetto Depasquale, who died suddenly yesterday afternoon, aged 73.

His coffin was carried in a cortège from his home in High Street, Qormi to St George Parish Church, where it will lie in state throughout the day.

Mgr Depasquele, known for his smile and humble character, was found dead on the floor of his house by his sister and Mgr Lawrence Gatt, who had called to pick him up for an appointment in Mdina. He had been at the Curia just a few hours previously.

People stood on their doorsteps and on pavements and watched quietly this morning as the coffin was carried to the parish church. Taking part in the cortège was Archbishop Emeritus Mgr Joseph Mercieca.

Mgr Depasquale had lived in Qormi for all his life, having been born there.

The funeral will be held tomorrow. The funeral cortège leaves St George's parish church at 8.15 a.m. for St John's Co-Cathedral, where the body will lie in state up to 1 p.m.

The funeral Mass, led by Archbishop Mgr Paul Cremona, will be said at 2 p.m.

Burial will be held privately at the Addolorata Cemetery.

Mgr Depasquale was  ordained a priest on April 7, 1962.

He served in the Commission for Children's Homes and the Pastoral Research Services as well as the parish of St George  and later the parish of English-speaking Catholics.

He was appointed Chancellor of the Curia in 1977 and Pastoral Secretary in April 1986.

He became Vicar General - deputy to Archbishop Joseph Mercieca on November 16, 1989. His episcopal ordination took place on January 2, 1999.

Once viewed as a possible successor to Mgr Mercieca, Mgr Depasquale suffered serious ill health which kept him away from his duties for several months. Although he eventually returned to duty, he never fully recovered. 


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