Azzopardi, Andrew (9.2.1870-17.3.1924)
Born in Zebbug, Malta, Azzopardi entered the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor in 1888 and studied philosophy and theology at the Franciscan Seminary. He was ordained priest in 1895.
Azzopardi distinguished himself in his zeal towards Maltese migrants in Egypt; he worked in Port Said, Cairo, and Suez (1895-1909), and from 1914 in California where he founded the Maltese ethnic parish of St Paul of the Shipwreck, the first Maltese church in North America. Here, Azzopardi assisted with all available means the Maltese community to overcome many problems owing to its low educational standards. In 1920, while in Malta, he supported an open campaign in favour of compulsory primary education, in which field he is considered a pioneer. A marble slab in Zebbug commemorates this hard-working Franciscan priest.
A correspondent to local papers, he wrote eloquently in favour of popular education so badly needed by all those who left the island to earn a decent living abroad.
Source: Maltese Biographies of the Twentieth Century (1997), editors Michael J. Schiavone and Louis J. Scerri