New Gozo bishop’s name likely to have been on agenda of Pope’s meeting

The Gozo diocese is still waiting to know who will replace outgoing bishop Mario Grech but issue may have been on the agenda of Pope’s meeting with the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops

The choice of Gozo bishop rests with Pope Francis and a decision is expected imminently
The choice of Gozo bishop rests with Pope Francis and a decision is expected imminently

The name of Gozo’s new bishop is very likely to have been discussed during a meeting yesterday in the Vatican between Pope Francis and the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

The meeting between the Pope and Cardinal Marc Oullet was part of a regular schedule, however, sources close to the Vatican have told MaltaToday that Gozo’s new bishop may have been on the agenda.

“With outgoing Gozo Bishop Mario Grech expected to formally take up his role at the Vatican in August and with the Pope normally going into retreat in July, time is pressing and it is very likely that the choice of new bishop for Gozo was on the agenda,” the sources said.

Grech was last October appointed by the Pope to serve as secretary general of the synod of bishops, one of the highest pastoral organs of the Catholic church.

Grech is currently serving as apostolic administrator of the Gozo diocese until a new bishop is appointed.

He will formally take over from synod’s current secretary general Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri when his term ends in August.

The appointment of bishops is done by the Pope, who would have received three names from the Apostolic Nuncio in Malta, Alessandro D'Errico. However, the Pope is not bound by the three names and could decide to appoint anyone else.

D’Errico would have consulted locally with priests and the Vatican’s Congregation of Bishops to identify potential candidates. Everything is done in utmost secrecy.

A few weeks ago, media reports touted Bishop George Bugeja, the apostolic vicar of Tripoli, as a possible successor to Grech at the head of the Gozo diocese.

“The appointment of Gozo bishop was disrupted because of the COVID-19 crisis but it is imminent and cannot be delayed much longer,” the sources said.