Today, September 6, is the 65th anniversary of the basilica. St George’s the oldest parish church of Gozo had been serving the people of Gozo since the inception of Christianity on the island. No documentary records go back prior to the 15th century but archeological records abound together with topography, archeology amply sustains the view that St George’s church has its roots in Byzantine Mediterranean Christianity.
The people who had striven for the independence and a new juridical status for Gozo, had, after acquiring it, started the drive for the return to its former independence of the earliest parish of Gozo. This came about in 1955. Three years later, that is in 1958, St George’s was meritoriously elevated to the status of basilica. The day was September 6.
It was the great Pope Pius XII who conceded the diocesan bishop’s request to the title and honour. The bishop was Mgr Joseph Pace, who, three years earlier, had been the primary instrument for the parish’s reacquisition of its former independent status.
The decree of elevation speaks of the pastoral activity, history and beauty of St George’s church. Today this parish church is active as ever. Its beauty is greater and its history is still being written in characters of gold.
Today, the bells of the basilica will ring out in joyous memory. At 5.30pm a solemn Mass with the singing of Te Deum will be held in thanksgiving. The ombrellone was opened between the Choir stalls and the silver tintinnabulum and the silver Chapter Mace were in their place.