The Malta Independent 19 April 2024, Friday
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90th anniversary of official opening of first Don Bosco Oratory in Gozo

Monday, 1 April 2024, 13:45 Last update: about 17 days ago

The first day of April 2024 marks the 90th year since the offical opening of the first Don Bosco Oratory in Gozo. And on the same day, back in 1934, Don Bosco, the founder of the Salesian congregation, was proclaimed saint by the Catholic Church.

The founder of the Don Bosco Oratory of Gozo was Fr Paul Micallef, a good priest from Victoria, who however was not present on the official opening of the first oratory, since he chose to make a pilgrimage to Rome in the same days in order to be present for the canonisation ceremony of the patron saint of children and youths. So instead, he left everything in the hands of a certain Fr. Joseph Spiteri, a maltese priest hailing from Naxxar, who was helping Fr. Paul to realize his dream in favour of the gozitan children and youths.


The first Oratory in Gozo was opened in a small house in Charity Street in the town centre of Victoria, adjacent to the sacresty of St. George’s Parish. But that was the humble beginning of a very big project intended for the well-being of gozitan children and youth, a project which is still ongoing 90 years later, now in a much larger building at St. Augustine’s Square in Victoria.

To commemorate these 90th anniversaries, various activities are currently being organised in Victoria. In fact, a Photographic Exhibition of vintage photos is being held at the Foyer of the Don Bosco Oratory in St. Augustine’s Square. Some of the displayed photos are being revealed for the first time, soon after they were discovered in a private collection. This Exhibition will stay open till 15 April.

The exact day of the anniversaries, on Monday 1 April, will be marked by a Prayer Vigil in the Chapel of the Salesian Sisters in Republic Street, Victoria, starting at 5:30pm. Those present will then proceed to the Gozo Cathedral to visit the Tomb of Fr. Paul Micallef, the Oratory’s founder.

Then on Sunday 7 April, a solemn Thanksgiving Mass will be held at the Don Bosco Oratory Chapel at 10:30am. This Mass will be led by Mgr. Carmelo Mercieca who worked hard at the Don Bosco Oratory during his early priesthood years. Mgr Mercieca is currently celebrating his 60th year as a priest. A Celebrative Lunch will follow.

On Thursday 11 April, the Don Bosco Oratory will host the classical music festival “Gaulitana” which will present a Lunchtime Concert by the chinese musicians “Mei Guo” at the Oratory Chapel on the traditional chinese instrument known as the “Pipa”. The concert with the name of “Eastern Hues” will start at 11:30am, and amongst other pieces, will include numbers from the rock-opera “Ġwanninu” about the life of St. John Bosco.

The 90th anniversaries programme will come to an end with the production of the classical maltese comedy “It-Tieġ ta’ Karmena Abdilla”, originally written by Charles Clews. This production at the Don Bosco Oratory Theatre will be staged by Don Bosco Oratory Dramatic Company on Saturday 13 April at 7:30pm. Booking is recommended before the date of the show.


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