The Fifteen Tuesdays Devotion to St Dominic kicks off at St Dominic’s Valletta, Malta

The Fifteen Tuesdays Devotion to St Dominic kicks off at St Dominic’s Valletta, Malta

The spiritual journey towards the Feast of our Holy Father St Dominic began with the First Tuesday celebration held in the Principal Matrix Parish Basilica of Our Lady of Safe Haven and St Dominic in Valletta, Malta.

The celebration was led by the Prior and Parish Priest Fr Michael Camilleri OP., Fr Paul Gatt OP, immediate Past Provincial and Fr Raymond Gatt OP, sub-prior.

According to the Breviarium of the Order, the tradition of dedicating Tuesdays to Our Holy Father St. Dominic takes its origins right from the beginnings of the Order. The first translations of the relics of our holy Patriarch took place on Whit-Tuesday (May 24) in the year 1233 at Bologna. Successive Chapters from 1239 to 1282 introduced various liturgical practices into the rubrics of the Mass and Office of the Order, as a means of fostering devotion to St Dominic. This process culminated in the act of the Chapter of 1362, which introduced the practice of dedicating the 3rd day of the week (Tuesday) to the holy Patriarch. From this point forward, on every Tuesday outside of Lent, the Mass of the day was to be his Mass, with a commemoration of him in the Office.

The specific practice of the Devotion of the 15 Tuesdays was instituted in Florence in the year 1631. During an occurrence of the plague that year, a Fr. Michael Bruni, of the Dominican monastery of Santa Maria Novella, exhorted the faithful to pray to St. Dominic, and promise to receive Communion on 15 consecutive Tuesdays, presumably in honour of the 15 decades of the Rosary. The success of this effort led to a rapid spread of the 15 Tuesdays devotion. Pope Pius VII granted an indulgence for those who availed themselves of the pious practice in honour of St. Dominic.

The Parish Basilica of St Dominic in Valletta is the only Dominican Church in the world, except for the Patriarchal Basilica of Bologna, to have been granted a special dispensation to continue to commemorate the Solemnity of the Feast of St Dominic on August 4th. Ever since the reform of the liturgical calendar, the feast was celebrated on the Sunday before August 4.

Since last year, however, the Community decided to start holding the feast on the first Sunday of August. Thus, this year the Feast will be held on Sunday, August 6th … a happy coincidence since St Dominic actually died on August 6, 1221. This year, the Fifteen Tuesdays in the Parish Basilica of Valletta will, therefore, be celebrated between April 24 and August 1, 2017. In his homily to the sizeable congregation, Fr Camilleri stressed that these 15 Tuesdays will be an occasion for the devotees of the Dominican parish to get to know their spiritual father better and thereby to get closer to Christ Our Lord.

Alfred Grixti, Lay Dominican,
Parish Basilica of Of Lady of Safe Haven and St Dominic, Valletta, Malta
​(2 May 2017)