On Sunday, 3rd October 2021, Fr Lawrence Caruana SJ (Larry) breathed his last at the ripe age of 95, at Loyola House, Naxxar in Malta. He had spent 43 years of his life in India, from 1953 to 1996, serving the people in the Santal Mission which he loved so ardently and with great dedication.
Born at Vittoriosa city in Malta in 1926, Larry joined the Society of Jesus, soon after World War II in 1945. Lawrence was one of the first batch of novices. After completing his studies of Philosophy in the UK, while doing regency at St Aloysius College in Malta he volunteered to work in the Santal Mission and reached India in 1953. Larry was ordained priest at Pune in 1959. The Lord endowed Fr Caruana with personal gifts that were put to good use in serving Him and the neighbour: cheerful, sociable, community man, hard-working, undaunted, master-builder, and leader. In 1967, Fr General appointed him the third Regional Superior of the Santal Region. Besides, he served in various capacities such as Head Master, Parish Priest, Treasurer of the Santal Region, construction In-charge, Vicar Forane and Superior. Master builder that he was, Fr Caruana left behind him various impressive buildings like CTC at Torai, the school auditorium in St Xavier’s Sahibganj, the chapel of St John Berchmans School at Mundli, Provincial’s House, Dudhani, and numerous village chapels.
On his return to Malta in 1996, Fr Caruana took up residence at Loyola House, Naxxar, and served as House Treasurer till 2007 and Promoter and Treasurer of Jesuit Missions till 2018. He served as Presbyter to a group of Neo-Catechumens. In the last few years he was commuting in Loyola House on a wheel-chair, but wherever one happened to meet him, one always met a cheerful face.
Paul Aquilina, SJ