Rev. Francis M. Vella
Rev. Francis M. Vella, a retired priest of the Diocese of Oakland, died Sept. 11, 2015, at the age of 85. News of the demise of the priest, who returned to his native Malta in 1998, was only reported to the diocese recently.
Born in Victoria Gozo in Malta, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1955. In the Oakland diocese he served as associate pastor at St. Isidore Parish in Danville, at St. Bede in Hayward; at Our Lady of Grace in Castro Valley. He also served as a chaplain at Merritt and Peralta hospitals in Oakland. He was a chaplain at the Veterans' Administration Hospital in Newington, Connecticut.
In 1995, he provided a reflection on the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood to The Catholic Voice: "To be a priest has meant to me that I am set apart to serve God's people, to bring Christ to hospital patients. Through daily prayer, meditation and contemplation, I make sure that I do not become dehumanized by the highly sophisticated medical technology and perform my ministry with professionalism, identity and freedom."
The funeral Mass was held Sept. 14, 2015 at St. George's Basilica in Malta.
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