Fr Michael Borg (1886-1963)

Fr Borg hailed from Vittoriosa. He studied for the priesthood at the Gozo Seminary and was ordained priest in 1912. During the war, he gave his services as military chaplain with the Maltese Labour Battalion in the Middle East, and later on in Gallipoli. For his services he was awarded the General Service Medal and the Victory Medal.

Fr Borg migrated to Detroit in 1920 where he was appointed parish priest for the Maltese parish of Detroit, mostly around the area of Highland Park. He soon found himself involved with providing spiritual as well as other help to the many Maltese migrants there, estimated at the time to be around 4000. One of his first plans was to erect a church, but funds were difficult to get at the time, when there was considerable unemployment among the Maltese migrants, to the extent that the St Vincent de Paule Society was busy handing out food and clothes.

Eventually, he bought an old church which could house 800 worshippers and which had ample underground facilities to serve as a meeting place. However, this caused considerable resentment among a section of the population, mainly the Maltese Association of Detroit, who insisted on building a new church. These squabbles eventually led (in 1927) to his removal from his Parish at St Paul's Maltese church where he had worked for six years. He continued to help his fellow Maltese for the next thirty-five years.

When he passed away in 1963, at the age of 77, he had been a migrant for 43 years. It was said of him that: "He would go without what was necessary for him in order to give to others."

[For further information see: Profiles in Maltese Migration by Fr Lawrence E. Attard, 2003, PEG, Malta]

Fr Raphael Pace (1888 - 1953)

Fr Pace was born in Vittoriosa, and studied for the priesthood in Malta, and later in Rome (Capranica College) where he obtained a double doctorate in philosophy and theology.. He was ordained priest in Malta in 1912. He met Archbishop Clune (Perth) who was looking for Maltese priests for his diocese, and he made up his mind to go to Australia. By the following year he was in Perth, and between 1913 and 1919, he was appointed as secretary to the Archbishop.

Although the population of Maltese migrants in Perth at the time was not large (around 100), Fr Pace soon found himself busy looking after these. He often had to travel long distances on pony. He was also involved with the Fairbridge Farm School in Western Australia, and visited Tardun which had been operating since 1914 as a training school for children to become farmers, and schemes were hatched to send Maltese children. In fact in 1936, the Government of Malta was working on such a scheme which, however, did not materialise. (As a matter of fact, the first batch of children did not leave for Fremantle before March 1950.)

Fr pace was a linguist, speaking fluently in three languages, and he was a much sought-after preacher, and his sermons were described as "little mosaics".

Unfortunately, by 1935 Fr Pace became totally blind, a complication of his diabetes. But for this impediment, he would have been considered for the See of Malta. He spent the last eleven years of his life at the St John of God Hospital in Subiaco, WA, where he said his daily mass and visited other patients.

Fr Pace lived forty years of his life in Australia, serving the early migrants as well as other Australians.

[For further information see: Profiles in Maltese Migration by Fr Lawrence E. Attard, 2003, PEG, Malta]

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