Nikol Cauchi

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Nikol G. Cauchi was born in Għarb on 2 March, 1929. Bishop of Gozo between (1972-2005).

His studies at the Gozo Lyceum, the Gozo Seminary and the University Gregorian where he graduated Ph.D at the Institute of Sociology run by the Jesuits in Rome, from where hi obtained the licentiate in social science (Lic.Sc.Soc.) he was ordained priest in 1952.

He became parish priest of Fontana in 1956 and also held the Chair of philosophy and sociology at the Gozo Seminary, where he also taught Italian.

He became auxiliary Bishop to Mgr. Giuseppe Pace in 1967 and effectively took over the running of the diocese well before Mgr Pace passed away in 1972, and he formally took over.

Mgr Cauchi was widely respected as a preacher and communicator and he was at much at ease with priests as he was with infants and leaders of society.

He was cast in the international media spotlight in the summer of 2000 during the controversy surrounding the fate of two Siamese twins whose parents, from Xagħra, contested - in line with Church teaching - a decision by the English Court of Appeal to separate the two - since this would automatically lead to the death of one of them. Mgr Cauchi remained popular even after his retirement through his regular participation in radio programmes, where he welcomed questions by listeners. He was also a regular contributer to the press but his health waned over the past few months - to the extent that he was unable to come to Malta when Pope Benedict XVI was here.

In his farewell message in January 2006, when he handed the reins of the diocese to Mgr. Mario Grech, Mgr Cauchi told the faithful:

"I promise you that I will keep thinking of you and praying for you till the day I die." And he kept his promise. Mgr Grech said that when he spoke with him, four days before his hospitalisation, Mgr Cauchi continued to show keen interest in the affairs of the diocese and was also looking forward to his own projects, including the publication of books.

HL Mgr Nikol Ġ Cauchi, bishop emeritus of Gozo and dean emeritus of St George’s basilica, was decorated with the Grand Cross of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta on Sunday, February 25,. The investiture took place at the end of a Pontifical High Mass at St George’s basilica during which Mgr Cauchi presided the Collegiate Chapter.

The investiture was performed by Dr.lfred Caruana Galizia, Hospitalier of the Maltese Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM). Dr Caruana Galizia acted as delegate of the Prince and Grand Master of the Order, HEH FraAndrew Bertie. It is the Grand Master in person who approves the conferment of such high honours of the Order of Malta.

Just before the actual investiture, Mgr.John Dimech, principal chaplain of the Maltese Association of SMOM, said that the honour was being conferred on Mgr Cauchi in recognition of his sterling service to the diocese of Gozo and to the Maltese Association of SMOM during his long episcopate.

Mgr Cauchi has been an honorary member of the SMOM since his ordination to the episcopate in 1967. His coat of arms includes the crest of the Maltese Cross.

The congregation was headed by the Maltese Ambassador to the Holy See, Chev.Tonio Ganado and the Mayor of Victoria, Mr Robert Tabone, who was accompanied by Mrs Tabone. MrAntoine Vassallo represented the Parish Pastoral Council and MrDolindo Cassar represented the La Stella Philharmonic Society.

He was taken ill on October 27 and after intensive treatment at Gozo Hospital's Cardiac Care Unit, was transferred to Mater Dei Hospital. His condition had improved for some time but it was always critical.

Bishop Mario Grech, who administered the last rites, appeared to sum up the thoughts of most people when he told timesofmalta.com that Mgr Cauchi was a father figure for Gozo, as well as a teacher.

He passed away on 15 November, 2010 at the age of 81.