Nativity of Our Lady celebrated by the Order and the Maltese Community
The Nativity of Our Lady was celebrated by the Order and the Maltese on the 8th September 1565 when the Ottomans were defeated, bringing the Great Siege of Malta to an end.
The FESTA has been celebrated since then and now includes remembrance not only of 1565, but also of the defeat and expulsion of the French in 1800 and the end of hostilities in Malta on the 8th September 1943.
It is a National Day of Malta and it is commemorated universally by the Maltese Diaspora wherever there are Maltese Communities.
In Sydney the Order is invited to participate by the Maltese Chaplaincy who organise the ceremony and festivity. The Maltese Chaplaincy is the responsibility of a Maltese Order – The Missionary Society of St Paul.
The second Sunday of September is chosen as the day of celebration in St Mary’s Cathedral. It starts at 2.30 pm when a procession with a statue of Our Lady goes round the cathedral.
The Holy Rosary is said and hymns sung by the choir of the Maltese Cultural Association of NSW and the congregation. Mass is concelebrated by several Maltese priests. This year the homily which includes a touch of patriotic emotion was in both Maltese and English, as were the prayers.
The Maltese High Commissioner , who came from Canberra, and the NSW Consul General attended.
Our participation is a public expression of our identity as a Lay Religious Order of the Catholic Church. Our presence strengthens the close ties between Malta and the Order of Malta.
Confrere George Boffa, who has been the commentator for this celebration for the last thirty years, retired in 2017. This year the Maltese Chaplain asked another confrere, Mark Boffa to take over.
After the ceremony the Fathers of the MSSP invited all to their centre (De Piro House in Stanley Street) for refreshments.
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