University Chaplaincy

Back

University Chaplaincy

The University began to operate on the new campus at Msida (“Tal-Qroqq”), in 1968. Nonetheless the first official full-time chaplain, Fr Mario Jaccarini sj, started his term of office in 1971.1

It was during Fr Jaccarini’s tenancy that the construction of the entire chaplaincy complex commenced. The University Chapel and its neighbouring edifices were designed by Mr Lino Gatt, who aimed at keeping the terraced formation of the fields on which the Chapel is constructed. Whereas the design was in the hands of Mr Gatt, the Chapel was built by the university architect, Mr William Micallef. Other members involved in the planning of this complex include Rector Prof. Edwin Borg Costanzi, Fr Peter Serracino Inglott, Fr Jaccarini himself and Mr Vincent DeGaetano (President of the Catholic Guild).

On January 26th, 1977, the first stone of the University Chapel was laid and blessed by His Grace, Archbishop Michael Gonzi. Archbishop Gonzi did not only take particular interest in this ambitious plan but also provided the funds, along with one thousand Maltese Liri, given by His Holiness Pope Paul VI. The patron saint of the Chapel, St Thomas More, was chosen by the University Students Catholic Movement because even though he had a family, was a lawyer, a judge and Lord Chancellor to King Henry VIII, he was willing to sacrifice all he had for his Christian beliefs.

The University Chapel of St Thomas More started operating in 1978, though still unfinished. Followingly, the Chapel underwent diverse refurbishments such as the one prior to the visit by His Holiness Pope John Paul II in 1990.

Author: Amy Sciberras

1 University of Malta, 2009, History, retreived August 9, 2011 from http://www.um.edu.mt/chaplaincy/about/history