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Vocation

Being still a very young boy, he already felt in his heart that God was calling him to religious life and to priesthood. Since then Fr Bernardin Attard started teaching him Latin and philosophy. Surprisingly, little Freddie was at that time only 8 years old.

When he was eleven, he presented himself to the Provincial Father of the Franciscan Conventuals in Malta to enter the Seminary. But the Father Provincial told him that he was still too young and proposed him a further date. But God went on calling him and at last Father Provincial Pius Mamo accepted Freddie to enter the Seminary of Rabat (Malta), on November 4th, 1953 – when he was only twelve years old. At the Seminary he continued his high school studies.

In 1956 Freddie was sent to Assisi (Italy) to do one year of Novitiate, a period in which his vocation was tested by his superiors and, on September 22nd 1957, he was accepted as a Conventual Franciscan, professing his first votes of obedience, chastity and poverty on Saint Francis tomb. It was now that he was given officially a new name: Elias, just to show that now a new life for him as a Franciscan, was beginning.

Back to Malta, he began his studies in philosophy and theology at St Anthony s Seminary in Rabat and in Valletta. The solemn and final profession of his votes took place on April 8th, 1962. In the same year he was sent to Rome to accomplish his academic studies in theology at the Theological College and Faculty “Seraphicum” and later on at the Lateran University where he got a degree in Dogmatic Theology and a specialization in Pastoral Theology. He was ordained Deacon by Cardinal Traglia in 1963 at the Twelve Apostles Basilica in Rome.

He was ordained priest by bishop Emmanuel Gálea in Malta on August 30th, 1964, at his parish town, when he was only 23 years old. Then he returned to Rome where he continued his post graduation studies in Dogmatic, Catechetical, and Pastoral Theology at Lateran University.

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