Valletta’s Saints join forces

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The events of VALLETTA as the European Capital of Culture 2018 reached a new climax on the second weekend of Easter as the Valletta 2018 Foundation asked the parish communities of Malta’s capital city to hold a 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 on Saturday April 7, 2018.

 

This event brought together faith, popular religiosity and Maltese festa traditions. The event was indeed named Il-Festa l-Kbira (The Big Feast).

 

The activity began on Friday evening with a band march along Valletta’s main thoroughfare, Republic Street, followed by a joint concert in St George’s Square by Valletta’s two brass bands, namely The King’s Own Band (linked to St Dominic’s) and the Società Filarmonika Nazionale La Valette (linked to St Pauls’).

 

The climax of the activity was reached on Saturday April 7, 2018 with the procession of all four titular statues together for the first time ever in Valletta’s history. Each parish held a high mass before the procession which, in the case of St Dominic’s Parish, was concelebrated by His Grace Monsignor Paul Cremona O.P., Archbishop Emeritus of Malta. The processions then set off from each respective church and converged at St George’s Square in front of the Grand Masters’ Palace where Archbishop Charles Jude Scicluna led a brief reflection and blessed the participants and the huge crowd present.

 

The titular statues then proceeded up Republic Street before returning to their respective churches very late at night due to the thousands of people who packed the streets of the capital thus making it very difficult for the statue bearers and bands to move forward at anything more than a snail’s pace. Despite this, all four parishes concluded the event with the chanting of their respective saint’s antiphon and the Tantum Ergo followed by the Solemn Benediction of the Congregation, as is the standard custom in all Maltese feasts.

 

Alfred Grixti,

Lay Dominican,

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