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RIP – Father Maximillian Joseph Mizzi OFM (Conventual)

Max Mizzi OFM

Father Maximillian Joseph Mizzi OFM (Conventual).
28 October 1930 – 3 March 2008

Fr Max Mizzi was a very good friend to many in the First and Third Orders of SSF, and instrumental in Angelo maintaining an SSF presence in Assisi from 1975-78. Angelo wrote the following obituary as an appreciation of his life.

Father Max, as he was affectionately known by everyone who knew him, was born inMaltaon28 October 1930and joined the Order of Friars Minor there in 1946.  He moved toAssisiin 1955 as Novice Master and lived and worked there for the rest of his life.

It was in 1960 that he established his first ecumenical contacts with a number of non-Catholic pilgrims, which included two brothers of SSF, before which Fr. Max had been unaware of the existence of Anglican Franciscans.  This contact laid the foundation for a friendship with SSF which lasted throughout his life, and which brought him toEnglandon a number of occasions to contribute to both First and Third Order gatherings and Chapters.

During following years Fr Max organized the International Youth Marches, for Reconciliation, which filled the city and its environs with hundreds of young people of many nations.  In 1972 he founded the Centro Francescano di Apostolato; and in 1986, when the Pope invited leaders of the world’s religions to meet together and pray for peace, Fr Max was very active in what became known as the “Prophecy of Peace”.

1989 brought the climax of Fr Max’s unique ministry stemming from Francis’ city, when as well as founding the Centro Francescano Internazionale per il Dialogo, (CEFID) Max was elected Delegate General for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Dialogue for the whole Order.  As the Director of CEFID he welcomed up to 13,000 visitors a year from different countries and cultures, and of all ages and walks of life.  These have included ambassadors, cardinals, bishops, politicians and spiritual leaders from other denominations and faiths.  Fr Max was gifted with a particular charism, not expressed in ways usually associated with that word, but by his gentleness, holiness and devotion to Our Lord.

He and I once talked about the doctrine of pre-destination and, in response to my remark that the only idea of pre-destination that I could accept was laid out in verse four of the first chapter of Ephesians (JB) “Before the world was made, He (God) chose us, chose us in Christ, to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in His presence”, Max said, “That is exactly right because it is only by such a way that we can help to answer Jesus’ prayer to the Father, “…that they may be one even as we are one” (Jn 17.22).

 A member of our Third Order, Edith Mary Pearson, who lived at CEFID for a time and worked with Fr Max wrote, “his determination and dedication and discipline to cope with his enormous workload was not just an ecumenical activity, but a mission …. his faith and love as a dedicated follower of St. Francis, and a man of God, strengthened and sustained him.”  One can think of no better epitaph.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory. f