A man of all seasons, Ġużeppi Mercieca showed exemplary docility to the will of God, Archbishop Charles Scicluna said today.
In the homily of Mgr Mercieca’s funeral mass this afternoon, Archbishop Scicluna spoke about Mgr Mercieca’s obedience to the Lord and described him as a man who showed courage when this was needed, when faced with violence, adversity and persecution.
He paid tribute to the late Gozitan for defending the faith without ever giving in to the threat of violence or incitement.
He recalled his own ordination by Mgr Mercieca and said he would always remember the spiritual paternity the late bishop had always shown to him and his colleagues, even when he needed to be somewhat strict with them, making his loss feel like that of a father.
Although not an extraordinary orator, his word was essential and he communicated faith, Mgr Scicluna said adding that Mgr Mercieca had left behind a legacy "which we treasure and for which we thank the Lord".
"We promise to learn from him to have space for everyone in our heart, to really be brothers and sisters in Christ," Mgr Scicluna said.
The funeral of Archbishop Mgr Mercieca, the head of the church in Malta for 30 years, is currently taking place in Valletta.
Mgr Mercieca passed away early on Monday, aged 87.
The congregation was led by President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca and her husband Edgar. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who is abroad, was represented by Education Minister Evarist Bartolo. Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, led Nationlist MPs.
Hundreds of people, including Gozitans and also a few tourists, gathered to pay their last respects and described Mgr Mercieca as a humble man who led by example.
They started queuing behind barriers from before 3pm and a crowd rushed up the Cathedral steps as soon as the barriers were opened briefly before the funeral mass started.
One of those present, Sr Conċetta Cilia, remembered Mgr Mercieca's consecration as a bishop at the same Cathedral more than 40 years ago.
The burial ceremony is being held privately at the Cathedral in Mdina.
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