Saturday, February 11, 2012

"Valletta celebrates Feast of St Paul’s Shipwreck"

From yesterday's

The feast of St Paul's Shipwreck is currently being celebrated in Valletta and a mass held this morning was attended by President George Abela, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Opposition Leader Joseph Muscat as well as other fellow MPs.

The feast of St Paul’s Shipwreck is one of the most attended feasts in Malta by locals and tourists alike. It is a time for many to celebrate their Catholic faith which is considered for many to be a crucial factor in their Maltese identity.

A number of feast goers congregated in the street outside the church because people filled the aisles and flowed out of the front entrances.

After attending the church service, Gonzi and his wife Catherine were surrounded by well-wishers wanting to shake hands. “It’s an occasion where the Maltese can come together and share a common identity. The beauty of this feast is that it is part and parcel of the Maltese identity and was mentioned and recorded 2000 years ago in the bible. This celebration is a moment for happiness for all and we can celebrate our identity as one,” Gonzi told MaltaToday.

Although considered to be one of the most important feasts in Malta, three British tourists happening on the congregation outside the church said that it should be promoted much more in tourist brochures.

“It’s wonderful! We didn’t even know about it until we arrived in Malta,” Joyce Millard said.

“It is a shame that the Maltese don’t publicise this feast in brochures. I only found out about it when reading a magazine article on the plane. They could entice people to come just for this feast,” Pam Hanson said.

“We were a bit worried about getting lost in the crowd but everyone seems to be so happy and friendly, we just feel like we’re fitting right in and can’t wait to see the inside of the church,” Margaret Mills said.

Candelas Leal, a Spanish tourist, and her partner came across the feast while walking through the city and decided to stay to observe: “We were surprised at the number of people just gather for a feast. This never happens in Spain! It’s also funny that there is so much security here but they don’t seem worried at all about something happening!”

Flickr PhotoSet here. I am now on the hunt for the chant propers and will post whatever I find. I'm thinking I might have to write them myself, though....


Supertradmum said...

The festivals are fantastic, and I have been there very recently. However, do not kid yourself, Malta is losing its Catholic identity in a manner fast and furious. There is no regular Traditional Latin Mass in Valletta. I was there several months and there were only two special ones, practically private. One procession I was part of, of the Icon of Our Lady of Carafa, which years ago would have attracted hundreds of people, had 75. I counted them. So sad, so sad in the country of beautiful churches.

bls said...

Thanks for commenting. I've never been to Malta, and had thought it was part of Italy, actually. Just found out, too, that the Maltese language derives from old Semitic ones....


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