The Consecration of Bishop Giovanni Cefai MSSP, the first bishop from within our little Missionary Society of St. Paul was held at the Cathedral of Arequipa on Saturday 22nd June. The three ordaining bishops were the Archbishop of Arequipa H. E. Mgr Javier del Rio Alba, accompanied by the President of the Peruvian Bishops’ Conference H.E. Mgr Héctor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, and the Papal Nuncio for Peru Nicola Girasoli Another 13 bishops were in attendance, together with the members of the Missionary Society of St. Paul and many priests including those from the new prelature of Huancane. Some of Fr. Giovanni’s siblings made the long-haul trip from Canada, Malta, and Australia to be with their youngest brother on this occasion. Following the consecration, Bishop Giovanni will be installed in the newly erected Prelature of Huancane on the 30th June.
The Saturday celebration was marked by its solemnity and the participation of many people from the various parishes led by the MSSP in Arequipa and Lima. A delegation of people from Huancane, was also present, conspicuous by their highly coloured beautiful traditional costumes.
Following the ordination, a lunch was held at a retreat house of the Archdiocese of Arequipa. During this lunch, the guests from Huancane, swarmed around the newly consecrated bishop, donning him with hats and shawls and ponchos as signs of gratitude and honour. The mitre and shepherd’s staff gave way to warm coloured clothes as the new bishop donned local colours! More of this is expected when Bishop Giovanni is installed in the Prelature and the celebrations take on a more local flavour.
On the level of the Society, this was a moment marked by real genuine collaboration by all our members present in the Region. Setting up for such an event was no mean task, and truly, our members all gave their share. For Fr. Alex Busuttil, the new Provincial Superior succeeding Fr. Giovanni, this was a proud moment to showcase the good qualities of the Society.
The event was live streamed by a team from CAM/CPi, led by Fr. Louis Mallia. Transmitting this Consecration live was no straight forward, however from early indications it seems that many people across different countries of the Society could see the ordination live. A big well done!
In all, it was a truly beautiful day for all: the liturgy flowed seamlessly, the event unfolded without a hitch, with the notable contribution of many lay persons associated with us in our ministry in Peru. They really did a sterling job, most of it stays hidden!
On Sunday 23rd of June, Bishop Cefai will again be at the Cathedral of Arequipa to officiate his first Mass as Bishop. During this mass, a letter sent by Gozo Bishop Mgr Mario Grech to the newly consecrated Bishop will be read. Bishop Grech highlighted that the ordination took place on the feast of Our Lady of Ta Pinu, noting that the bells of rejoicing rung on this feast every year, this year will hail Bishop Giovanni’s consecration as part of the College of Apostles. Bishop Grech also highlighted the new Bishop’s role in creating new structures in the newly established prelature and the support through prayer and other means.