John Consiglio writes:

The Maltese word is ever so beautiful, manswetudini. Kindness, gentleness of character and personality and, above all, good in all deeds done to anyone.

Within the space of a week, two personalities endowed with this God-given attribute left this human vale of tears and no longer will so many of us – still in shock at their departure – be able to savour their kindness.

In the good old days of Barclays Bank in Malta, Anton Mercieca possessed precisely this type of kindness. In the many long years during which I had the good fortune of working with him, never did I hear him utter a bad word about anyone. He was always a calm, loyal and serious official and, even though he had much to be able to brag about, he never did.

He was the son of one of Malta’s greatest historical personalities, Sir Arturo Mercieca, but never ever did he flaunt his family connections. For him, history and family attributes were there to be respected, to learn from, but never to be flaunted for any form of personal interest or status.

Anton and Clarissa both indeed came from important Maltese families but their humility and gentleness with everyone was simply unique.

Anton joins many of our colleagues now resting in the peace of the Lord.

Then, on the evening of the feast day of St Helen, death hit us again even closer to home. Our next-door paragon of gentleness, kind-heartedness and Christian character, John Ellis, left us while out relaxing with his wife, Miriam.

John Ellis is a great loss to our beloved parish of St Joseph the Worker.

He spent all his life, and even all his years in retirement, doing what he loved and did best: teaching. He went through the whole spread of a local teacher’s chain of professional development: primary, secondary, head of school and then even teaching in government evening classes. He taught Latin, Greek and other subjects too. But that was never enough for him.

In his parish, big is the number of young boys and girls to whom he taught religious doctrine and helped prepare for First Holy Communion and Holy Confirmation.

His quiet energy was endless, extending also to a very active role in his beloved Legion of Mary. Many are the local families to whom he would, on behalf of that wonderful society, take a statue of the Blessed Virgin for them to say Holy Rosary and pray in front of.

And all the time he would be drawing inspiration and strength from hours of assisting in church services and also always finding time for praying and visiting the Blessed Sacrament.

The ways of the Lord are endless and it is not for us to try to understand or interpret them.

But, surely, His choosing to call to His side within a week these two paragons of manswetudini cannot but be interpreted as meaning that the time for their rewards in heaven had arrived.

We can only pray for them and offer solace to their relatives down here.

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