Augustinian Superior: Cardinal Prosper Grech was a man of inspiring simplicity

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17/08/2021
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Maltese Cardinal Prosper Grech’s 94 years of life can be summed up in his episcopal motto: “In te Domine speravi” (I put my trust in You, Lord). It’s also the title of Ivan Marsura’s book about the Cardinal’s life.

In 230 pages, Marsura summarizes the Augustinian prelate’s contributions to theology. He also talks about the Cardinal’s passion for photography, which resulted in a collection of about 50,000 photographs.

The Augustinians remember him as a man of great simplicity and with a spirit of service, made especially evident when members of their community were sick.

FR. ALEJANDRO MORAL ANTÓN
Prior General, Order of St. Augustine
“When I was studying in Rome, he came to see me. I was very surprised. We didn’t know each other as well at the time. He came to see me and said, ‘Look, no more excuses. Come study. We miss you.’ I was moved by the care he showed me.”

In 1969, Cardinal Prosper Grech founded the Augustinianum Institute for Patristic Studies, the most prestigious institution for studies related to the Fathers of the Church.

He was an academic widely remembered for his significant contributions to the Second Vatican Council, especially in collaboration with Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI.

FR. ALEJANDRO MORAL ANTÓN
Prior General, Order of St. Augustine
“He was always a man of the Church, but at the same time very free, in the sense that he didn’t feel burdened by Church norms. Instead, he seemed liberated by them. And he was very important to the Second Vatican Council, to everyone. He opened many doors in the Biblical field.”

In 2012, seven years before Grech’s death, Pope Benedict XVI made him a Cardinal. But despite the new title, his way of life remained the same.

FR. ALEJANDRO MORAL ANTÓN
Prior General, Order of St. Augustine
“We would see him walk by. He didn’t wear any of the Cardinal’s distinctive garb, only for the most formal ceremonies. We even invited him to move from the College where he lived to the General Curia. But he said he was happy at the College, and he stayed in his same room.”

He was never able to vote at a conclave because he was over 80, but in 2013, after Benedict XVI resigned, he led the meditation prior to the casting of votes.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi

TR: CT

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