‘Eyes set on Heaven’ is the title of a new book by Joe Caruana to be launched last Thursday at the Calpe Rowing Club.
Joe Caruana is the brother of the late Bishop and has felt his story needs to be told.
“It is a biography of my brother, the late Father Caruana, as he was dearly called
by almost everyone in Gibraltar, even after he was ordained Bishop,” Mr Caruana told the Chronicle.
“He was one of the closest persons in my life, but even then, I doubt I can do justice to his person.”
Turning memories into writing is not an easy task as Father Caruana was larger than life, full of energy and enthusiasm, and one of the most charismatic priests Gibraltar has ever had.
“I can assure readers that the many words of praise in the book are not mine they come from many people I have interviewed and quoted, people who knew him intimately,” Mr Caruana said.
“For this reason Father Caruana’s life story needs to be told, particularly his exemplary priestly life as witnessed by so many of his friends.”
The author knew him all his life as a “good” person. However as time went on he realized that he was “special” and later on he also saw that he was “different”.
“As I delved further into my brother’s life I began to realize something that had escaped me over the years,” Mr Caruana said.
“I knew he was a hard worker and achiever, but I saw that he was a prolific creator of new things, an inventor of events, all for the benefit of his people. He simply could not help it, when he set his mind to it, he revealed a creative mind. He was in tune with the times and in step with his people.”
“Also, it seemed that he was a person with a bottomless pocket, a heart full of compassion, as everything he personally received he gave away even, when he was hard pressed. Many have described him as a man of great benevolence.”
“He was always full of compassion and mercy at funeral services, undoubtedly he had baptised some member of that family, or perhaps he had participated at a first-communion or confirmation, even married one or another of the bereaved, in several of these cases he probably had participated in all three sacramental occasions. Charles, no doubt inherited his strong faith and desire to serve from our Maltese ancestors.”
Mr Caruana thoroughly enjoyed writing the book and reliving memories of his brother.
“Writing the book was highly enriching, there were so many, many emotive parts where I had to stop and regain my composure,” Mr Caruana said.
“Many parts in the book are narratives written by Fr. Caruana. I could never do justice to his life.
He did so many things for his people that his life-experience was impossible to keep up with. Many testimonies about him reveal that. He was a man born to be a priest.”
Before his untimely death Bishop Caruana had said: “If it is felt I still have more to contribute I will do so. It has been beautiful to serve this community. I would not change it for the world and I would do it all over again. People are so good, wonderful and inspiring. But even if I do retire my work as a priest will continue. I will continue to serve the people of the Diocese for as long as I can.”
He had intended to ask the new bishop to make him chaplain to St. Bernard’s Hospital but unfortunately that was not to be.
Bishop Caruana possessed a natural leadership quality that inspired people to cooperate with him. He motivated people into productive action, to get involved, he had a creative mind and hence his success in so many enterprises during his fruitful life.
When someone asked him, during his 50th anniversary as a priest, what had been the highlight of the last 50 years he remained silent for a long time, and then said joyfully: “Everything has been a highlight the whole of my life. Every day as a priest is a highlight, since there have been many special and wonderful moments.”