|Birth: ||Oct. 9, 1932|
|Death: ||Oct. 1, 2010|
Former Bishop of the Diocese of Gibraltar, Monsignor Charles Caruana CBE., was born on October 9, 1932, in the then British Colony of Gibraltar, nowadays a British Overseas Territory. His ancestors were part of a group of Caruanas that settled in Gibraltar from their home in Malta during the 1800's. His great grandfather moved to Gibraltar with his grandfather and his four great uncles. This makes him a second-generation Gibraltarian. At the time of his birth, his family lived in Lynch's Lane, just off Main Street.
During the Second World War, Charles was evacuated with his family to London where he spent six months in Notting Hill Gate tube station seeking shelter from the bombings. He was first educated by the Christian Brothers when he was later re-evacuated to Northern Ireland. He already felt a religious calling by the age of 13 to 14, wanting to become a Christian Brother himself. On his return to Gibraltar, he joined the Civil Service, working in the Central Employment Exchange for four years.
Caruana eventually went off to a Seminary in the United Kingdom, where he spent six years studying. He was ordained to the Priesthood on May 24, 1959, at 26 years of age, starting work in the Cathedral of St. Mary the Crowned and later at the Sacred Heart Church, where he served as Parish Priest for 12 years. He later returned to the Cathedral to take on the role of Administrator. He also spent some time as Prison Chaplain at Moorish Castle.
On February 14, 1999, Father Caruana, at 65 years of age, became the second Gibraltarian to be appointed as the Roman Catholic Bishop of Gibraltar, succeeding Msgr. Bernard Patrick Devlin. He received his Episcopal Consecration on the following May 24, from Cardinal Basil George Hume OSB., assisted by Archbishop Michael George Bowen, and the named
Bishop Caruana was named Commander of the British Empire, receiving the award from Her Majesty Elizabeth II, in March 2008, and Knight Chaplain of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
He was instrumental in initiating the Gibraltar Song Festival. He first thought of the idea as a way of raising funds to build the Community Centre. It became so successful that the festival was to become an annual event.
Bishop Caruana was also the author of several books about his home town. In 1989, he published "The Rock Under A Cloud". In 2009, he authored "History of Our Lady of Europe", a book published by the Vatican Press as part of the commemoration of the 700 years of devotion of Our Lady of Europe, one of the Catholic Patron Saints of Gibraltar.
In 2007, Monsignor Caruana tendered his resignation to the Holy See, according to Canon Law provisos. On March 18, 2010, the Holy See announced that his resignation had been accepted and his successor as Bishop of Gibraltar would be the English Redemptorist Priest, Ralph Heskett.
In and out of St. Bernard's Hospital, he had been poorly for a number of months but his health is believed to have deteriorated rapidly following a fall in the middle of the last week of September. Special prayers were said at all Masses in all the Churches on the Rock and in the Synagogues where there was a special blessing in the Line Wall Synagogue.
His death came at a time when the Diocese in Gibraltar prepared to celebrate its 100th anniversary the next month and just a few days before his 78th birthday. He was at the forefront of all major events in the Catholic Church and undoubtedly one of its most prominent figures over the past five decades not just in the Church but in Gibraltar. Very much a man of the people he devoted his entire life to the Community of Gibraltar.
Msgr. Caruana passed away in the morning of Friday, October 1, 2010, around 6 am. His body was laid out in state on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, robed in his full Pontificals, at the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Cathedral, where hundreds of people filed past the catafalque. Funeral Mass was celebrated on Tuesday, October 5, at 4.30 pm., in the open air in John Mackintosh Square, given his popularity. A cortege followed to the Cathedral of St. Mary The Crowned, for internment inside the Crypt.
Cathedral of St. Mary of the Crowned
Plot: Cathedral Crypt, Beneath The Statue Of Our Lady Of Europe, Beside Bishop Edward Rapallo († 1984).
Created by: Eman Bonnici
Record added: Oct 02, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 59502101
Added: Dec. 29, 2010
Rest In Peace, Beloved Bishop Charles, You Shall Be Sorely Missed, But Will Surely Remain Forever In Our Hearts!|
Added: Oct. 2, 2010