Mgr Lawrence Mifsud: A priest who had a deep spirit of charity

On 20th June , Mgr Lawrence Mifsud went to meet the Risen Lord at the venerable age of 83. Lorry as he was known, was born in Vittoriosa to Lorenzo and Theresa nee Seychell, on 15 September 1933.

He attended the first years of primary school in Vittoriosa, until the war broke out. His family then relocated to Zejtun where together with his brother ?uzi, who later became an Agostinian friar, continued and finished primary school.

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Inspite of many difficulties, they entered wholeheartedly into Zejtun parish life. They soon became altar boys and were very dedicated to the liturgical service of the church. Here they attended M.U.S.E.U.M lessons which gave them the bases of their religious formation.

Both brothers were very fond of M.U.S.E.U.M and Archpriest Mgr Emmanuel Brincat, who used to oversee the parish of Zejtun, noticed Lorry’s fine qualities, and his great talent for music, and asked his sister to give Lorry music lessons.

Later on he began to attend Secondary school at the Minor Seminary of the Archbishop in Floriana.

Here he discerned his priestly vocation and entered the Major Seminary, where he began a course in Theology at the University of Malta.

He was ordained priest on the 14 March 1959 at St John’s Co-cathedral in Valletta by Archbishop Mgr Michael Gonzi. He celebrated his first solemn mass in the Parish church of Saint Lawrence in Vittoriosa, where he later became Canon of the same Collegiate.

As a new priest, Fr Lawrence began his duties in the Parish Church of Zejtun, where he served as an organist till 1963, when Archbishop Mgr. Michael Gonzi chose him to be a parish priest of the village of Marsaxlokk. Here he worked hard and started the National Pilgrimage devoted to Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompei. This pilgirmage is still held today.

In 1964, he left the parish of Marsaxlokk to become Archpriest of the Collegiate Church of Vittoriosa where he spent the next 19 years.

Here he set up a parish choir to enhance the liturgical celebrations in the Vittoriosa parish church. He commisioned various works of art made to augment the grand historical temple such as, the top ornament sculpture of the sacrament, the altar table and ambone, and the niche of St Lawrence that was made by his father.

Fr Mifsud was very devout towards the sacraments, the rosary and the liturgy. He had a strong determination to make God’s temple a special place of worship.

Fr Lawrence also had a deep spirit of charity towards the weak and the poor as many parishioners witnessed.

In those days the reformation of the Vatican Council II was underway, and here you could see how hard Fr Lawrence worked towards the renewal of the church’s liturgy.

In 1965, he set up a remembrance committee to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Great Siege. Many Cardinals and famous people visited the church of St Lawrence for this celebration. He also commisioned the refurbishment and cleaning of the cemetery of Saint Lawrence which is still in use today. Fr Lawrence was also the Chaplain of the Royal Navy whose office was housed in St Angelo in Vittoriosa.

He held this post until the English left Malta in 1979. In 1983, Fr Lawrence, was appointed Archpriest to the parish church of St Nicholas in Siggiewi by Archbishop Joseph Mercieca a duty which lasted eleven and a half years. This picturesque village gave him the opportunity to appreciate the great beauty of creation and of farmlife.

He was an upright priest hearing many confessions, preaching and giving valuable advice to those who asked it of him. He also founded a parochial choir in the parish.

It is worth noting that Fr Lawrence was known for his lenten and spiritual sermons, tridiums and panegyrics in many parishes in Malta and Gozo. He was very reflective in his homilies and was constantly keeping himself up to date on the liturgy and the teachings of the church. The panegyrics he loved most, were those he made during the celebration of a new priests first mass.

I was privileged with Fr Lawrence’s panegyric during my first solemn mass held on August 7th 1988 at the Collegiate Church of St Lawrence in Vittoriosa. At that time, the chapel in the area of Kir?ippu (Si??iewi) was opened to serve the congregation better. Here Fr Lawrence supervised work on the completion of the pedestal of the patron Saint Nicholas. He also worked in the cemetery to create more graves. He had a strong character and never lost heart.

He strove to complete all his projects for the service of the community.

In 1994, Fr Lawrenz became Canon of the Metropolitan Cathedral (Monsignor) by decree of the Archbishop Mgr Joseph Mercieca. He later became pro-Rector of St John’s Co-Cathedral where he spent time as an active member of the foundation.

One of his posts after becoming Monsignor was to take care of the Sanctuary of the Heart of Jesus in ?ebbu?, where he continued to preach and celebrate mass till he went to meet the Risen Lord. He had a profound effect on the locals who showed him great love and appreciation for his work.

Mgr Mifsud had a great talent for sacred and secular music.

He composed many pieces of music for masses, hymns and marches. He always offered his talent for pastoral service. He was fascinated by technology and used it to help him compose many music pieces.

Even when he was old, he continued to update himself on technology till the end of his life.

Shortly before his death he spent a lot of time painting beautiful pictures.

It is amazing how talented he was.

His funeral was held at the Parish Church of Si??iewi and his burial took place in the family grave at St Lawrence‘s cemetery in Vittoriosa.

Good and faithful servant enter into the joy of your master.

Fr Hermann Duncan O.Carm

Balluta

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