Consecration of Carmelite Basilica starts off from St Dominic’s

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The relics were embedded into the main altar of the Carmelite church as is customary in the rite of consecration of all Catholic churches.
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A Solemn Mass and Procession with the relics of four Carmelite Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War were held in the Dominican Parish Basilica of Our Lady Safe Haven and St Dominic in Valletta (Malta) on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 on the eve of the Consecration of the Carmelite Basilica in the same city.

 

The Solemn Mass was celebrated by Fr Michael M. Camilleri O.P. Parish Priest and Prior of the Valletta Dominicans assisted by Fr Alexander Vella O.Carm, Provinical of the Maltese Carmelite Province, and Fr Alex Scerri O.Carm, Prior of the Carmelite Priory and Rector of the same Carmelite Basilica as co-concelebrants along with members of both communities of friars. At the end of the con-celebration Fr Michael presented Fr Alex with the incense to be used during the consecration of the Carmelite Basilica the following day.

 

After the Mass the relics of these martyrs were carried in solemn procession towards the Carmelite Basilica by four Dominican Friars under a baldacchino, accompanied by members of both communities while confraternities incorporated in both churches also took part. Evening vespers were sung by both communities when the procession with these relics arrived at the Carmelite Basilica. The relics were embedded into the main altar of the Carmelite church as is customary in the rite of consecration of all Catholic churches.

 

The Carmelite church, which was consecrated on April 4, is the second one built on the site. The first church was dedicated to the Annunciation and was built around 1570 on the designs of Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar. In the 17th century it was given to the Carmelites and, thus, it received its present patronage of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The façade was redesigned in 1852 by Giuseppe Bonavia. On May 14, 1895 the church was elevated to the rank of Minor Basilica by Pope Leo XIII. It is, thus, the second church in Malta to have been given this title, the first being the Dominican Basilica of Our Lady of Safe Haven and St Dominic, the Ecclesiae Matricis et Principalis of Valletta, and which was elevated to Basilical status by Pope Pius VII on March 25, 1816.

The Carmelite church had to be rebuilt after the extensive damage which it suffered during the Second World War. The building of the new church, in the form of a 137 foot high oval dome, began in 1958 and was completed in 1981 when the church was blessed.

 

The Consecration of the Carmelite Basilica coincides with the special event of the joint procession with the four titular statues of Valletta’s three parishes, namely St Dominic, St Paul and St Augustine as well as that of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which will take place on Saturday April 7, 2018 as part of the celebrations of VALLETTA as the European Capital of Culture 2018.

 

Alfred Grixti,

Lay Dominican,

Parish Basilica of Our Lady of Safe Haven and St Dominic, Valletta.