Vella, Charles, G. (26.6.1928-)

Founder of the Cana Movement

Born in Gzira, Vella was educated at St Aloysius College, the Seminary, the Venerable Bede English College, Rome, and the Gregorian Pontifical University, Rome (1948-1955). He also studied social studies at Loyola University, Chicago, (1955-1956) and was trained as counsellor and psychotherapist at the Family Institute, Chicago. Vella was ordained priest in Rome in 1954 and the same year he founded the Cana Movement for family life education, marriage preparation, counselling, and social family work. He was press officer of Diocesan (195"2), general secretary Pauline Centenary cerebra tions (1958-60); member, Broadcasting Authority (1961-62), and Religious Broadcasting Organizer (1963-74).

Vella has been involved in the international field in family social work, particularly in developing countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, the Philippines, and India. Between 1976 and 1986 he was director of the international Centre for Family Studies at Milan where he founded of the monthly review Famiglia Oggi.

In 1986 Vella joined the Istituto Scientifico San Raffaele at Milan as assistant to the president for social relations and general co-ordinator for ethics. He was also appointed lecturer in bioethics and member of, various bioethics committees. He was consultant to the UN for aging and the family, member founder of the International Family Secretariat, a UN non-governmental organization, and of the International Confederation of Christian Family Movement (ICCFM), and chairperson of the National Committee for the International Year of the Family (Malta).

Vella was appointed consultant to Malta's ministry on social policy, family policy and ethics and vice-president of the Maltese Foundation of Science and Medical Services. Vella was the chairman of the Council of Europe Steering Committee for Social Policy (1991-92); chairman of the Commission for Poverty and Marginalization (1990); and representative of Malta's Government at CAHBI (ad hoc committee of experts on the progress in biomedical sciences). He was appointed officer of the National Order of Merit (UOM) (1994) and domestic prelate by John Paul II (1995).

He has published several articles in Maltese and international journals. He is member of the editorial board of KOS (Review for Medicine and Ethics) and the Cambridge Quarterly and coordinating editor of the journal Sanare Infirmos(Milan).

Source: Maltese Biographies of the Twentieth Century (1997), editors Michael J. Schiavone and Louis J. Scerri

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