San Ġorġ ħareġ! Yet, this is no feast… It is in the very penitential spirit of Lent, following our forefathers’ footsteps in times of trial and calamities, and heeding our Bishop’s call last week to seek the intercession of Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu and our island’s Patron Saints, that the statue of St George this time again has been brought out of its niche to seek his special intercession against the spread of COVID-19.
Our same parish church was rebuilt in 1678 in votive prayer to St George after the plague that had struck the island of Malta three years earlier. And once again in 1813, in the wake of the bubonic plague which raged across the islands, our people prayed for deliverance to St George.
The titular statue of St George, commissioned in 1838, is itself an “ex-voto” after the cholera epidemic that reached the Maltese archipelago in June 1837. When the virus struck again in 1865, St George was once again the focus of prayers for his intercession.
On various extraordinary occasions in turbulent times for our islands, the statue was brought out of its niche to pray the intercession of Gozo’s Patron Saint. A few main ones are listed here:
29 March 1846 – Procession with St George’s statue to the Capuchins’ Conventual Church due to lack of rain.
15 April 1877 – Procession with the statues of St George’s and the Blessed Virgin of Sorrows to the Capuchins’ Conventual Church due to lack of rain.
20 March 1881 – Procession with St George’s statue to the Capuchins’ Conventual Church due to lack of rain.
20 May 1881 – St George’s statue brought out of its niche due to lack of rain.
25 October 1885 – Procession with St George’s statue to the Capuchins’ Conventual Church due to lack of rain.
1887 – St George’s statue brought out of its niche due to lack of rain.
20 March 1888 – St George’s statue brought out of its niche due to lack of rain.
15 January 1923 – St George’s statue brought out of its niche due to earthquakes. On 21 January, Procession with the statues of St George, the Blessed Virgin of Lourdes and St Ursola to the Capuchins’ Conventual Church due to earthquakes.
25 July 1940 – St George’s statue brought out of its niche for a whole month due to the Second World War. On 22 April 1941, Bishop Michael Gonzi recommended a prayer for St George’s intercession for the victory of England over its enemies.
12 January 1972 – St George’s statue brought out of its niche due to lack of rain and the political crisis in Malta.
Please make sure that you visit the Basilica ONLY for personal prayer and NEVER in groups.
Talba lil San Ġorġ Martri, Patrun u Protettur tal-Għawdxin, f’dan iż-żmien ta’ emerġenza globali tal-Coronavirus
(adattata minn dik approvata mill-Isqfijiet ta’ Għawdex fi żmien iż-Żewġ Gwerer Dinjija tas-seklu l-ieħor)
O Martri bla mirbuħ ta’ Ġesù u Protettur l-aktar qawwi tal-Insara, aħna mtaqqla u mbikkma, nerfgħu għajnejna lejk f’dan iż-żmien ta’ tiġrib. Inti qiegħed tara wisq tajjeb, mis-Sema, il-mard qalil li qed iwaqqa’ fil-hemm popli sħaħ u li minnu wkoll ġejja l-miżerja tagħna.
O Kbir Tawmaturgu, għal dik l-imħabba lejn Alla, li biha int stqarrejt bla biża’ l-Fidi mqaddsa, u f’ġieħ it-tbatijiet li ġarrabt fil-martirju glorjuż tiegħek, ieqaf magħna u warrabna mit-triq tas-saram. Idher int għalina quddiem it-tron ta’ Alla; urilu demmek imxerred għalih u għall-merti tiegħu itolbu jberikna u jżommna ’l bogħod minn kull ħażen.
O Anġlu difensur tagħna l-Għawdxin, magħżul minn Alla sabiex tgħasses fuq gżiritna, fik aħna nqiegħdu t-tama tagħna għax żguri mill-protezzjoni tiegħek. Nitolbuk: itfa’ ħarstek ħanina fuqna, aqta’ xewqitna, isma’ talbna, u b’għajnunietek int hennina. Amen.
San Ġorġ Martri, Patrun tagħna, itlob għalina,
biex ikun jistħoqqilna dak li wegħedna Kristu.
Photo: Andrew Formosa