The solemn tolling of our Baricozzi bells is today inviting the faithful to St George’s Basilica for the celebration of the 268th anniversary of its Dedication.  On 21 September 1755, Mgr Paul Alpheran de Bussan, bishop of both islands, consecrated the twelve crosses on the main pillars of the church as a liturgical sign that from then onwards this Catholic house of prayer was wholly dedicated to the Lord.  The present edifice, built in 1678, is the latest one following others sited on the ground formerly occupied by a pagan temple.

Yesterday, the vigil of the solemnity was announced by the bell towers of the basilica when they rang out, joyously, at noon. The three evening Masses were the Masses of the dedication.  The twelve crosses, signifying the twelve apostles and foundation columns of the Catholic Church, and the need of Christians to hold steadfastly to their faith heritage. Pope Francis, as the successor of Peter, is the visible sign of this steadfastness in the Christian faith.  Monsignori and other clergy celebrated yesterday and celebrate today in the midst of twelve tall candles burning before the anointed crosses that mark the supporting pillars of the consecrated edifice.

For the solemnity of its dedication day, St George’s Basilica has been adorned with silver plate and some gold-embroidered vestments are being used. The Basilica and Collegiate Chapter emblems are displayed.

Later today, the Chapter of Canons will meet again to celebrate Second Vespers at 6.30pm, and a High Mass will be celebrated at 7.00pm.

In the Maltese islands, September 21 is Independence Day, one of the national holidays.