The Malta Independent 30 March 2023, Thursday
View E-Paper

Remembrance and consideration

Tuesday, 17 January 2023, 11:55 Last update: about 3 months ago

Il-Kappillan Carlo Manché fi Kliem Niesu. Edited: Tony Micallef. Publisher: Parrocca Madonna tal-Karmnu, 2022. Pages: 138

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews exhorts: "Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hb 13:7-8).

The recently published book Il-Kappillan Carlo Manché, fi kliem niesu edited by Tony Micallef, commemorates a saintly priest  at the helm of the Gżira Parish from 1935 until his untimely demise in 1950, consumed by his heroic dedication to his parishioners as well as to all who crossed his path.


This is not the first time Dun Carlo Manché has been commemorated and considered by his parish. Yearly celebrations for his death anniversary, commemorative events and published articles, memorial cards have been going on for the past seventy-two years. However, through this publication by the Gżira Parish in collaboration with the Local Council, remembrance of Dun Carlo was taken to another level.

Micallef sought to make available to the general public testimonies and real-life stories coming both from people who knew him personally and from others who recall first-hand anecdotes passed on in oral history.

Testimonies were recollected from Manché's directees, clerical and lay collaborators in the running of the parish, his brother and family members,  and parishioners who benefited from his ministry. Manché comes along as a model of catholic priesthood along the lines of the saintly Curé d'Ars, through his unwavering life of prayer and union with God, his activism to eradicate vice and crime, especially in the realm of prostitution and all its ramifications of abuse and illegalities. One witness recalls how the Parish Priest saved under-aged girls from forced prostitution and how he was also physically assaulted by pimps.

Testimonies open up about the constant hidden and discreet charitable acts which left the saintly parish priest bankrupt and poor. Details about Manché's character are also given, his musical talents, and his propensity for languages and hobbies, like repairing watches in his free time. Other witnesses go into Dun Carlo's humanitarian activity in war-stricken Gżira, and his cordial relationship with the Christian Brothers and Carmelites.

The hardbound volume is also enriched with several photos and images from the family and parish collections primarily published for the first time. Credit is also given to Lawrence Formosa, SDC, who, way back in the years after Manché's demise, started gathering testimonies from witnesses who personally knew the saintly parish priest and collecting any published material from newspapers and reviews. Il-Kappillan Carlo Manché, fi Kliem Niesu gives a warm touch to the testimonies by publishing the photo of each witness and collaborator in this collection.

The book also contains two poems composed in honour of Dun Carlo Manché.melitensia collectors and those interested in the unfolding of an oral history, which enables us to construct a time gone by and perhaps an evocative profile of what an exemplary Catholic Priest should be. 


Review by Charlò Camilleri, O.Carm.


  • don't miss