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]