Fr Amadeo Zammit the first parish priest of Fleur-de-Lys (1938-2016)
On Friday 28th October, on the feast of St Simon and St. Jude the Apostles, the Lord called our Carmelite brother Fr Amadeo Zammit at the age of 78. He was born on 28th February 1938 in Msida to Paul and Carmela Zammit. A few days later he was christened in the Msida parish church and named Joseph. He attended primary school in Msida, and later St Aloysius College in Birkirkara and the college of St Albert the Great in Valletta. When he was 19 he joined the Carmelites and was given the name Amadeo, as was the custom at the time. Following his novitiate he made his simple profession on 26th October 1958 in the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Mdina.
He studied philosophy and theology at the Carmelite Priory in St Julian’s and on 11th November 1961 he made his solemn profession. He was ordained priest on 14th March 1964 by Archbishop Michael Gonzi at St John’s Co- Cathedral in Valletta.
He spent the first years of his priesthood in the Mdina priory and teaching students at Mount Carmel College, the Carmelite college, which is now known as Saint Elias College. In 1969 the Prior Provincial, Fr. Ġustin Sant, appointed him his secretary and personal assistant. Consequently, he was assigned to the Priory of Santa Venera, where the Prior Provincial’s residence and office was. During this time he began publishing the bulletin ’Bejnietna Karmelitani’(Between us Carmelites) that was an internal bulletin for information and formation of the Province.
He was appointed formator of postulants at the Priory of Fleur-de-Lys in 1967, and in 1973 became the Prior of this community for three years. During this ministry, he was Provincial Director of vocations where he worked tirelessly for new vocations, a duty he carried out with total love and dedication.
In 1975, he was appointed the first parish priest of Fleur-deLys where he remained until 1982, when he was sent to the St. Julian’s Priory as a formator of Carmelite students. When his ministry ended as student formator, Fr Amadeo committed himself wholly to the ‘Lunzjata project’ which can be said was his life’s dream. During the time he spent as Director until 2015, he worked tirelessly to restore the old Priory, the very first Carmelite Priory in the limits of Rabat, Malta and built a retreat house in the same area. Fr Amadeo believed that this tranquil place was most suited to the contemplative Carmelite life.
In the Provincial Chapter of 1991, Fr Amadeo was appointed parish priest of Fgura where he remained until 1997 when he was chosen to be the Prior Provincial of the Maltese Carmelite Province. For several years he was also Provincial Counsellor and editor of the Carmelite magazine ‘IlKarmelu’.
In 2006, Archbishop Joseph Mercieca appointed Fr Amadeo as his delegate to the Members of Institutes of Consecrated Life. He served in this ministry for five years where he was loved by all religious, especially the cloistered nuns.
Fr Amadeo spent the last 13 years of his life in the priory of the old church of Santa Venera where he was prior twice. Despite his duties as prior, he also found time to manage the House of Prayer ‘Lunzjata‘. However, last February while preparing to celebrate Sunday Mass in Lunzjata, he suffered a heart attack. After spending some time in hospital and convalescing in his priory, he began to recover steadily, so much so that he went back to celebrating Mass and hearing confessions, which he did up to the eve of his death.
His funeral was held on Monday 31 October in the parish church of Santa Venera where Mass was celebrated by his brother Fr Francis Zammit S.D.B together with a number of priests. He was buried in the cemetery of Santa Marija Addolorata in the grave of the Maltese Carmelite Province.
Let us pray for our brother who worked tirelessly for new vocations. Many can in fact attribute their priestly and religious vocations to him.
Father Hermann Duncan O.Carm Balluta