Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish Church, Tas-Sliema, Malta

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish Church, Tas-Sliema, Malta

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Tas-Sliema, Malta, has been a Parish since 1918. The church was built by the initiative of Rev.Fr. Paul Vella D.D. in 1877-1881. After six months of its completion, in November, by the permission of the Bishop, was handed over to the Maltese Province of the Friars Minor. The Provincial Superior was Rev. Fr. Anton M. Cesal O.F.M. So Fr. Aegidius Portelli O.F.M. became its Rector.

In 1930, the church, had to be enlarged due to the increase of the population. It was built in a Roman-Ionic style with sculptures gilded with gold and decorative paintings. The dome is decorated with paintings of different Franciscan Saints, while on the ceiling depicts joyful episodes from the life of the blessed Virgin Mary. We also find 5 altar paintings by the famous Maltese artist Giuseppe Calì. One of these is his masterpiece representing St Gerome, half naked, in the grotto of Bethlehem. The statue of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart was made in 1879 by the Maltese artist Girolamo Darmanin. The statue was brought in the church on, 26 June 1881, the same day the church was blessed and opened to the faithful.

During the last world war the church was heavily damaged with the total loss of the Franciscan Friary. A Franciscan Father died buried under the debris of the convent together with 22 people. The devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred heart spread rapidly through the years and throughout Malta. A Perpetual Novena is held every Wednesday in honour of the blessed Virgin Mary. The feast is celebrated on the first Sunday of July, with liturgical services and procession with the statue around the decorated streets of the Parish, together with outdoor festivities and fireworks.

References

  • Information taken from a publication in Maltese about the Sanctuary "Is-Sacro Cuor" 1968 and from a researched and documentated history of the Sanctuary published in Maltese " Il-Parrocca Madonna tas-Sacro Cuor, Tas-Sliema - Taghrif Storiku 1993

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