The 62-year-old former archpriest of Xagħra, Monsignor Carmelo Refalo, has resigned three months into his new role at the Foundation for Social Welfare Services (FSWS).
The monsignor resigned from his post as archpriest of Xagħra in September, then took a job as a senior official of a government agency, with its offices in Xewkija, just a short distance away from his residence.
Sources at the agency told The Shift that the Monsignor stopped appearing for work at the Xewkija offices two weeks ago without informing his colleagues.
Contacted by The Shift, Monsignor Refalo asked for questions to be sent by email.
When asked to explain why he had resigned from his government job only three months after starting, he did not reply.
In a social media post following The Shift’s revelations last year that he had stepped down after 18 years to become a government employee, the Monsignor wrote that he had wanted to leave his pastoral role for many years to “focus his religious mission on other areas.”
At the same time, he refused to state how he got the job, with some speculating that his appointment was linked to his brother being the former driver of ex-Gozitan minister Anton Refalo.
Research by The Shift shows that Refalo was appointed to the state position following a public vacancy and an interview. Many other candidates, qualified and with years of experience, also applied for the job but the 62-year-old, close to pensionable age cleric was selected.
While the vacancy was for a social welfare professional within the Foundation – which has offices all over Malta – Refalo was assigned to work from the agency’s office in Xewkija, a stone’s throw away from his Xagħra residence.
The Gozo office of FSWS is managed by a close friend of Refalo, another Monsignor, who was employed as a director of the same office just a few years ago.
The Labour government also appointed the same director, Monsignor Joe Vella Gauci, as Malta’s Ambassador to UNESCO.
It is unclear what role Monsignor Refalo will be assigned at the Gozo Church now he is able to return as a full-time priest.