The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was first celebrated in France. The liturgy was approved by the local bishop at the behest of St John Eudes, who celebrated the Mass on August 31, 1670. The celebration was quickly adopted in other places in France. In 1856, Pope Pius IX established the Feast of the Sacred Heart as obligatory for the whole Church. However, the feast actually has scriptural roots and is truly of biblical proportions. It was Our Lord Jesus Christ who said: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Mt 11:29).
Fontana, one of the smallest villages of Gozo and a neighbourhood that is strictly speaking cuddled by the old town of Rabat, has enjoyed parish status since 1911. The church was about to be dedicated to St Andrew, patron saint of the local fishermen or the Saviour until it was decided that it would be dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Practically dismembered from St George’s Parish and enjoying old ties with the Rabat parish, the first parish-priest was Dun Ġużepp Hili, brother of Victoria’s parish priest who held the office of Archpriest within the Cathedral’s Collegiate and served as parroco for the entire town of Gozo. The statues of St Peter and St Paul that adorn the façade of the Fontana Parish Church used to embellish the sanctuary in St George’s Parish Church and the people of Fontana used to frequent the parish before having their own church. Fontana’s actual parish-priest, Can. Simon M. Cachia, also hails from St George’s.
On this Solemnity, three young men will be ordained. Bro Etienne Gilson ofmconv and seminarian Andrew Grima will be ordained as deacons, and Deacon Mario Mercieca Pavia will be ordained to the priesthood. Bro Etienne resides at Convent of the Conventual Franciscans in Victoria and is not new for St George’s; his face is certainly familiar to all, as he has been helping with catechism and other activities for the last two years! The same can be said for Andrew Grima who for a couple of months assisted in the parish and was part of the family! Having another priest hailing from town is also good news, so we would like to congratulate Mario, Andrew and Etienne who in the late afternoon will be ordained by Bishop Mario Grech at Ta’ Pinu! May God bless you and keep you!
You may follow the event on TVM2 or via https://www.youtube.com/dioceseofgozo.
Prayer for the day
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we, who glory in the Heart of your beloved Son and recall the wonders of his love for us, may be made worthy to receive an overflowing measure of grace from that fount of heavenly gifts. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.