Bishop Emanuele Galea +


Auxiliary Bishop of Malta

Titular Bishop of Tralles in Asia



Date Age Event Title
10 Dec 1891   Born Senglea
18 Dec 1915 24.0 Ordained Priest Priest of Malta
9 Jun 1942 50.5 Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Malta
9 Jun 1942 50.5 Appointed Titular Bishop of Tralles in Asia
5 Jul 1942 50.6 Ordained Bishop Titular Bishop of Tralles in Asia
21 Aug 1974 82.7 Died Auxiliary Bishop of Malta

  • a priest for 58.7 years
  • a bishop for 32.1 years


Academic Achievements

The youngest son of Joseph and Carmela Camilleri, Emanuel Galea was born in Senglea, Malta, on March 10, 1891. After his primary education, he studied at the Lyceum between 1903 and 1909. After his decision to become a priest, he entered the Major Seminary and enrolled at the Royal University of Malta in 1910. He obtained the degree of Bachelor of Literature and Bachelor of Canon Law and that of Doctor of Divinity. He was awarded the Certificate of Honour in the Theology Course. He was ordained priest together with his brother Francesco on 18th December 1915, thus becoming the third priest in the family.
He enjoyed teaching Catechism to small children and adults; he liked to use a small projector for visual aids. Two years later he was appointed Canon Theologian of the Collegiate Church of Senglea. In 1919, after World War I, Canon Galea continued his postgraduate studies at the Gregorian University in Rome where he obtained a doctorate in Canon Law.
On his return from Rome he was appointed Prefect of Studies and Professor of Latin Literature at the Archbishop’s Seminary. Galea was the Prefect of Studies and Professor of Latin Literature at the Archbishop’s Seminary from 1921 till 1932. He became Professor of Canon Law at the Royal University of Malta from 1930 until 1942. Galea was installed Monsignor Theologian of the Cathedral Chapter. During the same year, Archbishop Caruana appointed him Secretary General at the Curia and Defender of the Bond of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal.

Apostolic work

In 1940, during the period of high responsibilities in the Diocese, after the sudden death of Mgr Giuseppe Depiro, Archbishop Caruana asked him to become the Director of the Institute and Orphanage of Jesus of Nazareth at Zejtun, a post at which he fulfilled his ambition to help the poor children and the needy until his death.
During the same time he continued with his mission of hearing confessions regularly in Senglea, Zejtun and Tarxien where he joined his elder brother parish priest Salvatore. He dedicated himself to direct the newly born Congregation and to the apostolate of preaching on all occasions offered to him, and taking active part in the popular missions held by the Missjoni ż-Żgħira. (The Minor Missionary Movement)

Further responsibilities

During the most critical moments for Malta in World War II, on 9th June 1942, at the request of the old Archbishop Mauro Caruana, Pope Pius XII appointed Mgr Emanuel Galea Titular Bishop of Tralles in Asia and Auxiliary Bishop of Malta. He was ordained bishop by Archbishop Caruana assisted by Bishop Michael Gonzi (at that time Bishop of Gozo) at the Cathedral in Mdina on 5th July 1942. (This was during the continuous Luftwaffe blitz of the islands).
Along with his duties at a high level of responsibility in Malta, Bishop Galea took part in a number of sessions of the Second Vatican Council that lasted from 1962 until 1965. He addressed the plenary and the individual specialized sessions in a masterly way and contributed especially to the discussions on the Episcopal Collegiality and on the role of the Church in the modern world.

Later life

He enjoyed visiting parishes all over Malta to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation, to install new parish priests and to take part in the liturgical celebrations of the parish titular feasts. He accepted joyfully to deliver Lenten sermons to all different sections wherever he was invited. Being an assiduous writer of short articles he used this ability to propagate the teachings of the Church on many occasions.


In 1943 he was made a Knight of the Order of Malta.
In 1965, on the 50th Anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, on the recommendation of Archbishop Gonzi, Pope Paul VI appointed Bishop Galea Assistant to the Papal Throne.
In 1969, the Confederation of Civic Councils awarded him the Gold Medal of Merit by stating that over the previous 29 years, Mgr Galea had performed innumerable deeds to the spiritual and temporal benefit of the Maltese Islands .

His last years

Bishop Emanuel Galea continued his pastoral activities to the last days of his life; he passed peacefully away on 21st August 1974 after a short illness at the venerable age of 83 years. His remains were laid in state in his beloved Institute at Zejtun for the last farewell from the many that queued to show their respect. The funeral, attended by huge crowds and many priests, was led by archbishop Gonzi (who had since become Archbishop of Malta) at St John's Co-Cathedral and then he was buried in the Cemetery of St Gregory in Zejtun. He was later transferred to the Institute where he now lies buried in a marble sarcophagus.
Monsignor Galea was a man of prayer and a great devotee of the Blessed Virgin. His Rosary beads were frequently seen in his hands. He spent daily long moments of Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. Both as a priest and as a bishop he was known by all as the apostle of the confessional. He encouraged prayers for priests and the monthly night-adoration for their holiness.
In character Mgr Galea was very reserved by nature and was hardly one to boast of his achievements and only a close circle of friends knew of those good deeds. Even during his lifetime, Mgr Galea was considered to be a saintly person. Since the destruction of Senglea during the Second World War he had lived mainly in Zejtun where his humble residence was always open to those that sought his advice and teachings. His sermons were always followed with utmost interest and people used to travel long distances to hear him preach.
Many pray for his intercession with God for some special favour and there is a movement to have him elevated to the Altars as a Blessed Soul.





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