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Br. Emmanuel Paul Azzopardi

 Date of Death: 16/07/2019
Place: Australia, Campbelltown
Province: Australia
Age: 87


He was born in Port Said, Egypt on 24th September 1931. Maltese-born father, Michael and mother Maria, were residents of Egypt and British citizens - as were Emmanuel and his two sisters, Alice and Edith. He completed his secondary education at the Cairo English College in 1948 and soon afterwards moved to Australia. Initially he followed a legal path and graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Laws. He was admitted to the bar and practiced law in the same Sydney chambers as Lionel Murphy and Neville Wran. However, the legal culture didn’t suit him and after a short period of missionary work in New Guinea he entered the Novitiate in 1960 and took first vows in 1961. Emmanuel claimed that his choice of the Marists was very practical – we were the only Order that replied to his letter of enquiry!

His nickname ‘Summ’ was given to him as a novice because of his liking for and knowledge of St Thomas Aquinas’s “Summa Theologica” which he was known to carry with him. He was a brilliant linguist, able to speak multiple languages fluently: Maltese, Arabic, French, English, Russian, German, Spanish, Polish. He was a gifted musician, and could play piano, violin and keyboard.

Emmanuel’s ministries were varied. He was a secondary teacher at Eastwood and Parramatta for 12 years. Given his fluency in multiple languages, through Quentin he was invited to be a member of the Preparatory Commission for the 1967 General Chapter, and acted as official translator at other Institute events. After that he worked in other Church ministries – the Catholic Marriage Tribunal and then for nine years the Catholic Enquiry Centre, where he shared his deep and prayerful faith with thousands of searchers. This work gave him the opportunity to read widely and to reflect on diverse issues. He published three books – one on language learning, one on human rights and another on biblical issues – and wrote numerous monograms. He was also closely involved in the direct care of others – he lived at home for three years providing daily care for his infirm parents, worked in the Infirmary at St Joseph’s, had a special role with Kieran after his stroke and was a thoughtful support to Othmar when they were together at Daceyville.