Former chaplain to the Diocese of Parramatta Maltese community, Missionary Society of St Paul priest, Fr Claude Borg MSSP died peacefully on Saturday 17th June at the Uniting Mulluana Residential Care, Blacktown. Fr Claude was aged 91 and in his 71st year of profession and 65th year of his missionary priesthood.
Born in Malta, Fr Claude began his journey with the Paulists in 1938. He made his first profession in 1945 and perpetual vows in 1948. He studied both at the Malta Seminary and University and was ordained in Malta on the 22nd December 1951.
Fr. Claude’s first assignment was at the Oratory in Birkirkara for 4 years after which he was sent to our fledgling Australian mission in Melbourne in 1956. He was assigned as a Maltese Chaplain at Parkville. He was the first MSSP to be appointed Parish priest of Our Lady of Victories Parish, Horsley Park in 1965 where he cared for his people for 6 years before returning to Malta. In Malta he served the MSSP in different official roles and was available for supply in different places.
Fr. Claude returned to Australia in 1980 once again with the Parkville community for 3 years after which he became assistant priest at St Joseph’s Parish, Rozelle in Sydney, then under MSSP care. In 1990, he joined the MSSP community at St Francis Assisi Chapel at the La Valette Maltese Centre, Blacktown as a chaplain for the Maltese in the western suburbs of Sydney especially in the Diocese of Parramatta.
While Fr. Claude entered aged care at St Dominic’s Blacktown in 2003 and in 2016 in Uniting Mulluana Blacktown, he continued to be involved in caring for the Maltese and others till quite recently. Over the many years of ministry Fr Claude has also been involved with various groups in-particular due to his love of liturgy and music the formation of Maltese and other choirs both in Melbourne and Sydney.
In December 2016, Bishop Vincent Long OFM CONV on the occasion of Fr Claude’s 65th Anniversary of Ordination to the priesthood said, “Thank you for your example of priestly dedication and fidelity. Your priesthood is a sign of hope and renewal of God’s everlasting love to his people.”
Close friend of Fr Claude, John Beale, commented that Fr Claude just got on with the job, “he was a friend to all, everyone adored him wherever he went. He was a very religious man, he had to get on with the Lord’s work. He loved music and wherever he went he would create a choir.”
Despite his deteriorating health over the past few years he remained as active as he could be and was a witness that we can embrace our journey of aging with vigor and trust in the Lord. He will be fondly remembered as an energetic, jovial and caring pastor by all who knew him and whose lives were touched by him.
Fr Claude’s requiem was held at Our Lady of Victories Parish, Horsley Park on Friday 23 June 2017.
Published 27 June 2017. With thanks to the Missionary Society of St Paul