A ceremony was held yesterday in the church of St Geltrude in Juticalpa, Honduras, during which Maltese Franciscan Joseph Bonello was consecrated as bishop of the diocese by a number of officiating prelates.

A number of Maltese Franciscans and friends also attended the ceremony.

Ordaining Mgr Bonello was Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucicalpa and president of the Episcopal Conference of Honduras. He was assisted by Apostolic Nuncio Luigi Bianco and Mgr Muldoon of Juticalpa, Olancho.

Also taking part in the ceremony were 12 bishops of Honduras, including Mgr Robert Camilleri, Maltese Provincial Sandro Overend, and the Archpriest of Xagħra, Mgr Carmelo Refalo.

Until recently, Mgr Bonello was parish priest of Santa Ana de La Libertad in the diocese of Comayagua.

Mgr Bonello was born in 1961, in Xagħra, Gozo; the third of four children. He joined the Order of Friars Minor in 1977, and was ordained priest in 1985 by former Archbishop Joseph Mercieca.

After some service in Malta he opted for the missions in Central America. In 2009, he was nominated by Bishop Fr Robert Camilleri as Vicar General of the diocese of Comayagua.

As a missionary priest, Mgr Bonello has been accompanying people in their faith, while promoting human dignity and sustaining education, art and formation of workers.

Mgr Bonello will be in Malta at the end of the month to visit his family, and meet dignitaries and friends.


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