Appreciation of Can Lino Vella by Fr Geoffrey G Attard
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Can Lino Vella (1.6.1961-3.2.2017) – “The death of Fr Lino Vella of Ta’ Kercem (Gozo) may have shocked many, but it was not entirely a surprise. Those who like myself knew him quite well, were aware of the suffering he was undergoing as he struggled to keep himself going inspite of the stroke that shook him back in 2008.
Fr Lino, who was born in San Lawrenz, Gozo in June 1961, was ordained to the priesthood on the 28th of June 1986 by Bishop Nikol G. Cauchi. He studied Pedagogy at the Salesian University in Rome and when he came back to his native Gozo, he taught at the Diocesan Minor Seminary. He was also one of the co-founders of the St Gregory Musical Society of Ta’ Kercem.
In November 2007 he was installed as parish priest of Fontana until he was taken ill. I have been teaching at the same school where Fr Lino used to teach since September 2008 and it was then that I came to know him very well even though I had spent a week on holiday with him in 2002. In fact, it was at the school that Fr Lino, together with the now deceased Toni Portelli (1956-2015) practically became two of my very best friends.
With the passing of Fr Lino just a year, a month and a fortnight after that of Mr Portelli, what comes to mind are the sons of the ailing king in Neil Gaiman’s book Stardust (which was later on made into a film) who die one after the other in such a short period of time. Fr Lino was a much beloved priest, always carrying a smile.
While gentle and caring, Fr Lino had a strong will and it was this latter characteristic of his which made it possible for him to live through the tough time he went through during the last decade.
I never heard him complain of his condition and he came across as a very courageous and positive person.
All the teachers and LSAs at the Sacred Heart Minor Seminary School will miss him.
Dear Fr Lino, I hope that you are reunited with your father and our friend Toni, whom you loved so much and respected. May the Lord grant you eternal peace!
Fr Geoffrey G Attard,
Photograph by Focus Fotos