The most important liturgical commemoration for a particular place of worship is not the feast-day of the saint whose name it carries – as many may think – but the day on which it was dedicated to God in whose honour all churches stand. This day is known as the Solemnity of the Dedication. In common parlance, it may be referred to as ‘the Consecration of the Church’.
It was on 21 September 1755 that while the Bishop of Malta and Gozo Fra Paul Alpheran de Bussan was visiting the island, the Parish Church of St George was dedicated, or consecrated. In January 1693 a violent tremor had caused damage to various churches around the islands. Damages to the dome and the façade of the church were recorded. The church had to undergo various restorations. The 21st of September 1755 was certainly a special day for the people of town.
In his message for the 13th of September 2020 Bulettin issue, the Archpriest Joseph Curmi, referring to the rich history of service that St George’s is renowned for, wrote these very words: “Throughout a history that stretches for many centuries, from time immemorial, St George’s always served the entire Christian population of Gozo and beyond. This is known by one and all. It remains like that to this very day”.
These words written by the Parish Priest of St George’s himself testify to the importance of the liturgy of tomorrow. As a place or worship newly dedicated to God, St George’s could be of service to the people of the city and the island.
This year, the newly consecrated Bishop of Gozo Mgr Anton Teuma will preside the Second Vespers and the Concelebration of the Solemnity; this will be the second time that Bishop Teuma will be presiding at St George’s (the newly-elected Bishop presided the Pontifical Mass on St George’s Day in July), but it is the first time that he is among us as our consecrated Bishop and the third Dean of St George’s Collegiate Chapter. Therefore, we are twice happy to have him among us on this special day. Through his presence tomorrow, Bishop Teuma ushers in a new era for St George’s and seals once and for all the bond that the Bishops of Gozo have enjoyed with the the island’s proto-parish and will continue to do so for many years to come.