EUROPE/SCANDINAVIA - National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies appointed

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Vatican City (Fides Service) - Cardinal Ivan Dias Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples on March 1 2007 appointed Rev. Hjalti Paul Thorkelsson, of the diocesan clergy of Reykjavik, national Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Scandinavia for a five year term (2007-2012).
The new national director was born in Holmavik, Iceland, on 21 December 1943, the son of a Lutheran school teacher. He attended school and college in Reykjavik. Later in 1970 while doing a post degree course in Heidelberg, Germany he became a Catholic. After teaching at a primary school in Iceland for a few years he started studying for the priesthood in Regensburg and Feiburg (Germany). He also took courses at the Pontifical Angelicum University in Rome. He was ordained a priest on 20 July 1983 in Reykjavik by Bishop Henrik Frehen, SMM. Since his ordination he has ministered as follows: assistant priest and then parish priest at Reykjavik Cathedral (1983-1989); parish priest at Saint Joseph's parish (1989-1998) where he supervised the building of a new church and parish house; 1998 - 2005 head of a Catholic primary school in Reykjavik and at the same time Bishop's delegate for catechesis, liturgy and missionary activity and diocesan vice vicar general. He successfully reorganised the missionary activity of the diocese and helped increase mission awareness among the faithful. He has also taken part in missionary initiatives in other northern European countries. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 15/5/2007 - righe 18, parole 248)