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Senglea celebrates golden jubilee of basilica's rebuilding

Senglea will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the consecration and reopening of the Basilica of Our Lady of Victories after its destruction in World War II with a series of spiritual and social-cultural events organised by the parish church this week.

The first is a commemorative exhibition being held at the Catholic Action premises, 72 Victory Street, Senglea. It will be open on Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m., on Thursday from 5.30 to 7.15 p.m., on Friday, after the Pontifical High Mass at the basilica, up to 9.30 p.m. on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, and after the evening function at the basilica till 10 p.m., and on Sunday from 9.30 a.m. till noon. Entrance is free. The exhibition includes some dramatic wartime photographs and objects related to the reconstruction of the basilica, which was completed in 1957. The exhibition will be inaugurated today by Senglea archpriest, Canon Joe Grech.

The statue of Marija Bambina will be on display at the church of Porto Salvo, prepared to be transported and return to the Basilica on Saturday.

Activities continue on Thursday at 7.30 p.m. with a historical and musical evening at Porto Salvo church featuring singing by the Kor Marija Bambina, poetry reading, a message for the occasion and the Bambina ballad in Maltese on the statue of Our Lady, the devotion to her from the times of the Great Siege, and the arrival of the statue in Senglea at the end of the war. The public is invited to attend. Entrance is free.

On Friday - the anniversary day - at 6 p.m., Archbishop Paul Cremona, OP, will concelebrate Thanksgiving Mass with the Senglea chapter and other priests, followed by the singing of the Te Deum and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque.

Activities reach a climax on Saturday, when the statue of Marija Bambina, as happened 50 years ago, will be transported from the church of Porto Salvo back to the basilica with a Marian pilgrimage aux flambeaux, with the participation of the La Vincitrice Band of Senglea. This follows Mass celebrated by Archbishop Cremona at the church of Porto Salvo. At the end of the pilgrimage, the coat-of-arms of the late archpriest Canon John Burlò and Dean Canon Francis Abela will be unveiled. All are invited.

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