The Archconfraternity of St Joseph of Rabat is this year marking the 50th anniversary of the crowning of the old statue of St Joseph, venerated in the national sanctuary dedicated to the saint in St Mary of Jesus Franciscan church at Rabat.
The coronation was sanctioned by a brief by Pope Pius XII of 27 July, 1956 and the solemn ceremony of this crowning was held on 1 May, 1963 – 50 years ago, at the Floriana Granaries by the Archbishop of that time, Mgr Michael Gonzi.
To mark this event various celebrations will be held between 23 April and 1 May. On Saturday, 27 April, the statue of St Joseph will be taken to Floriana. At 6 pm there will be a procession with the statue from Sarria church to St Publius parish church where at 6.30 p.m. a concelebrated Mass will be said, followed by the inauguration of a commemorative marble plaque to mark the event.
This will be inaugurated by the Archbishop, His Grace Mgr Josè Rodriguez Carballo OFM, the new Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. The statue will then be accompanied by a carcade to Mdina, passing in front of Hamrun and Sta Venera parish churches. Near the main door of Mdina the statue will be accompanied to the Cathedral by the L’Isle Adam Band, which is going to play hymns to St Joseph.
On Sanday, 28 April at 7.30 pm, the statue of St Joseph will be carried out in a solemn procession from the Mdina Cathedral to St Mary of Jesus Franciscan Church at Rabat, accompanied by various Confraternities of St Joseph and various philharmonic bands dedicated to the saint united in a mass band. This procession will be led by Bishop Mgr Sivlester C. Magro OFM. , Apostolic Vicar of Benghazi, Libya.
On Monday, 29 April at 8 pm, the L’Isle Adam Band will give a concert dedicated to the crowning of the statue near St Mary of Jesus Church at Rabat.
On Tuesday 30 April at 6.30 pm a concelebrated Mass will be said at St Mary of Jesus Church by the Bishop of Gozo, Mgr Mario Grech, accompanied by the parish priests of Gozo. At around 8 pm, His Eminence Cardinal Josè Saraiva Martins CMF, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, visits the church and the national sanctuary of St Joseph and the L’Isle Adam Band Club, followed by band marches along the streets of Rabat by the L’Isle Adam Band.
The celebrations will come to an end on Wednesday, 1 May – the day marking the 50th anniversary of the crowning of the statue of St Joseph, when at 6.30 pm a solemn pontifical high Mass will be said at St Mary of Jesus Church by Cardinal Josè Saraiva Martins.