On 9 May 2012 Pope Benedict XVI honoured Rev. Mgr. Charles Portelli, the Parish Priest of St Mary of the Assumption (St Mary MacKillop) in Keilor Downs/Kealba, two suburbs north-west of Melbourne, with the title Chaplain to His Holiness for his work on ‘Domus Australia’ in Rome and the beautification and renovation of churches. The appointment was announced on 1 June 2012.
On behalf of the Maltese Community Council of Victoria and its affiliated associations, the President and members of the Executive Committee congratulate Mgr. Portelli for the prestigious honour conferred on him by the Pope.
Mgr. Portelli was among four Melbourne priests honoured by the Holy Father. The others were the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Rev. Mgr. Greg Bennet VG, honoured with the title Prelate of Honour to His Holiness; and two former Masters of Catholic Theological College, Rev. Mgr Terence Curtin, Parish Priest St Bridget’s, Greythorn and Episcopal Vicar for the Eastern Region, and Rev. Mgr. Gerard Diamond, Parish Priest Ss. Anthony and Aloysius Glenhuntly/Caulfield, both honoured with the title Chaplain to His Holiness.
Mgr. Portelli was born in Mosta, Malta, the youngest child of Joseph and Josephine Portelli, and brother of Sam and sister Vicky. He came to Australia in 1960.
Mgr. Portelli was ordained priest in Melbourne on 17 August 1985. He was appointed to serve as Assistant Priest at Grovedale in 1985, Melton in1986, Ascot Vale in 1987, Geelong in 1990 and St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1993. In 1996 he was appointed Administrator of St Augustine’s, Melbourne, returning to St Patrick’s Cathedral where he was Master of Ceremonies to then Archbishop George Pell (now Cardinal of Sydney).
On 17 January 2001 Mgr. Portelli was appointed Parish Priest of Keilor Downs Parish and on 20 January 2007 of the newly formed parish of St Mary of the Assumption (St Mary MacKillop), Keilor Downs/Kealba.
Among his other responsibilities, Mgr. Portelli is Chaplain to the Catholic Regional College, North Keilor and Board Member of the Federation of Catholic Regional Colleges in Melbourne with campuses in St Albans, Melton, North Keilor, Sydenham and Caroline Springs. He is also Parish Priest to St Paul’s Primary School Kealba and St Mary MacKillop Primary School.
Mgr. Portelli has been involved in restoration and improvement works at many Churches and Chapels throughout Australia- St Augustine’s Melbourne, St Patrick’s Cathedral Melbourne, Corpus Christi Chapel Carlton, Rosary Home Chapel Keilor Downs, St Dominic’s Church Melton, St Patrick’s Church Mentone, St Paul’s Church Kealba, Australia Catholic University Chapel Melbourne and the inspiration behind and responsible for the construction of the beautiful Church of St Mary MacKillop Keilor Downs, to name but a few.
Mgr. Portelli was also heavily involved in the development of a Chapel for His Eminence George Cardinal Pell in Sydney and of the ‘Domus Australia’ in Rome for His Eminence George Cardinal Pell.
Mgr. Portelli is involved in a number of Committees within the Archdiocese of Melbourne. His advice is continually sought by Bishops, Priests and parishes throughout Australia on matters of liturgical practice, church space, religious sculptures, pictures, statuary etc.
Mgr. Portelli has a vast knowledge in matters of Art and in particular in matters of religious art and has many contacts throughout Australia and around the world for such items.