Santa Marija's Feast 2011
  The festivities of Santa Marija in our parish of Zebbug for the year 2011 began with the traditional Kwindicina on the 5th of August with Mass celebrated at 11.00 a.m. and a day of Eucharistic Adoration in the parish church. After the 7.00 p.m. Mass the solemn ringing of bells announced the opening of the festivities. Saturday the 56th of August was the first formal day of the Kwindicina or fifteen days leading to the feast-day of the Solemnity.

As is traditional in our islands, every day leading to the festa is dedicated to a particular section of the parish. There were days dedicated to the altar-servers and vocations to the priesthood, the Missionary Society of Saint Paul present in our locality, the children of the parish, the disabled, the Catholic Priesthood, the students and adolescents, the youth of the parish, the sick and the elderly, the emigrants who visit us for the feast, the benefactors and various others. A special day among them all is always commemorated on the 18th of the month; it was on the 18th of the month thirty-one years ago that the late Bishop Nicholas J. Cauchi solemnly crowned the image of the Virgin Mary on the titular altarpiece of the parish church among great festivities. The 15th of August, liturgical solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin was dedicated especially to the families of the parish.

Saturday the 20th of August was the day leading to the solemnity itself; this is a day characterized by the celebration of the Translation of the Relic. This year we were honoured with the presence of the Knights of the Order of Saint Lazarus which has among its esteemed members the Lord Mayor of our village, Chev. Carmelo Saliba. The knights, with their beautiful green cloaks were definitely the main attraction during the Translation of the Relic. The celebration was presided by Mgr. Laurence Sciberras, a local biblical scholar and lecturer at the Gozo Major Seminary and member of the Cathedral Chapter. Mgr. Sciberras delivered a very interesting homily in which he emphasized the synthetic parallelism between the Ark of the Covenant mentioned in the biblical text of the eve of the solemnity and the Virgin Mary who is considered by various church fathers and doctors of the Church as the Ark of the New Covenant. Then, at night, on the same evening, the spectacular Sky Concert was organized by the St Mary Fireworks Group of Zebbug; this was a spectacular pyromusical for which there was a great sense of expectation not only among parishioners but among the various Gozitan and Maltese dilettanti. There were words of praise and appreciation by all those who witnessed to it. The road leading from Victoria to Zebbug was full of cars and people who came for the occasion from the various villages of Gozo and beyond.

Sunday the 21st was the day of the Solemnity. This year, the parish welcomed with great joy the presence of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Malta Mgr. Paul Cremona OP who presided over the Pontifical Concelebration which began at about 9.00 am. Archbishop Cremona delivered his homily about the theological significance of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. In the evening the procession marched at about 7.00 p.m. and was led by the Rev. Mgr. Dr. Joseph Sultana, Archpriest of the Collegiate Parish of the Visitation of Gharb. As soon as the procession entered the church, Benediction followed.

The celebrations in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary came to their end with the titular statue being put back into its niche after the 7.00 p.m. Mass on Wednesday 24th August. This year’s feast was another success due to the input of the various groups and organization which come together to celebrate the annual feast.  

Written by: Fr. Geoffrey G. Attard
Image by: Redentine Cini
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