Appreciation of Fr Joseph Saliba by Fr Geoffrey G Attard
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Fr Joseph Saliba (1933-2016) – "Fr Joseph Saliba or Dun Guzepp il-Bejzu as he was known among his folk was born in his native Zebbug, Gozo, on the 30th of September 1933. He was ordained priest at the Gozo Cathedral by Bishop Joseph Pace on the 12th of April 1959.
After a short pastoral experience in Canada, Fr Saliba was called by his Bishop to serve as prefect of discipline at the Minor Seminary and later on he served as prefect at the Gozo Major Seminary. Bishop Nicholas J. Cauchi made bestowed on him the office of Major Sacristan of his Cathedral Church in Victoria where he served for more than 28 years.
During this period he was also one of the most sought after confessors in Victoria. Fr Saliba was also 'choir chaplain' at the Cathedral Church of St Mary's and served as chaplain at the General Hospital. He was also administrator, distributor and treasurer for Gozo of the two newspapers Il-Hajja and Il-Qawmien, both of which are no longer published.
Fr Saliba was a humble priest with a the voice of a tenor: he sang with the Gozo Cathedral Choir, the Laudate Pueri Choir of Victoria and with the Zebbug Parish Orchestra. He also wrote a number of poems.
Although quite a reserved priest, Fr Joseph Saliba was affable and easy to befriend. Always carrying a beautiful smile, Fr Saliba was loved by one and all!
Every time I met him, both when he was in good health and even lately when he bore his illness with courage and determination, he spoke to me about his friendship with the late Mgr Tarcisju Gatt, a great-uncle of my father, with whom he sang the Salve Regina and other pieces at the Gozo Cathedral and in the churches of Gozo. Requiescat in pace!"
Fr Geoffrey G Attard,
Top photograph by Alain Salvary, photo of Fr Joseph Saliba supplied by Fr Geoffrey Attard