Paola cel­e­brates the 50th an­niver­sary of the Ded­i­ca­tion of Christ the King Parish Church

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

To­mor­row 20th No­vem­ber marks the launch of the cel­e­bra­tion of the 50th an­niver­sary of the ded­i­ca­tion of the Christ the King parish Church in Paola. The cel­e­bra­tions mark the fifty years since Arch­bishop Michael Gonzi ded­i­cated the parish church in Paola on June 3rd 1967. This event in the his­tory of the parish is be­ing marked with a num­ber of litur­gi­cal, cul­tural and so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties over a pe­riod of twelve months.

Canon Marc An­dre Camil­leri, parish priest of Christ the King Parish in Paola said “This an­niver­sary is an im­por­tant mile­stone in the his­tory of the parish. It is a mo­ment when we can look at the past with a sense of sat­is­fac­tion at what has been achieved, cel­e­brate the present and look for­ward to the fu­ture. Although the face of the world, of Malta and also of Paola changed con­sid­er­ably over the years, the parish church did not be­come a relic of past glory but a liv­ing mon­u­ment of the constant courage and faith of the Paola com­mu­nity”.

The Or­gan­is­ing Com­mit­tee, ap­pointed by the same parish priest to over­see the pro­gramme for the an­niver­sary year, has planned a num­ber of ac­tiv­i­ties linked to im­por­tant dates in the his­tory of the parish. Ev­ery cel­e­bra­tion is aimed at a spe­cific cat­e­gory of the com­mu­nity - chil­dren, youths, el­derly, the sick and even res­i­dents of the Cor­radino Cor­rec­tive Fa­cil­ity, which is lo­cated within the con­fines of the parish. The ac­tiv­i­ties are in­spired by the acts of mercy ref­er­ence to which is found in the Gospel of St Matthew.

These cel­e­bra­tions will serve as an ap­pre­ci­a­tion by the parish to the pro­tag­o­nists of this event, to pay trib­ute to Ar­chi­tect Guze Dam­ato, who was the brains and the heart be­hind the build­ing of the new church, to pay trib­ute to the parish priests who served in the parish since the idea was first mooted up to where it is to­day and also to show ap­pre­ci­a­tion to those who in one way or other contributed or are still con­tribut­ing to the build­ing of the church .

The cel­e­bra­tions will reach their cli­max on June 3rd of next year when Arch­bishop Charles J Sci­cluna will lead a con­cel­e­brated pon­tif­i­cal Mass of Thanks­giv­ing and, in con­so­nance with one of the acts of mercy “I was in pri­son and you came to visit me”, ar­range­ments have been made with the au­thor­i­ties of the Cor­radino Cor­rec­tive Fa­cil­ity so that the cel­e­bra­tion on that day will con­tinue within the precincts of the Cor­rec­tive Fa­cil­ity with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the res­i­dents at the Fa­cil­ity.

The cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing the year in­clude an Or­ches­tral Con­cert by the St Paul’s Cham­ber En­sem­ble, an ex­hi­bi­tion about the his­tory of the parish, which will be open to the gen­eral pub­lic, the pro­duc­tion of a doc­u­men­tary, the pub­li­ca­tion of a com­mem­o­ra­tive book by three au­thors and a con­cert by the bands of the two lo­cal band clubs on the same stage.

The motto cho­sen for this event aimed at em­pha­siz­ing the unity within the parish is “One Parish, One Aim and One King”.

Dur­ing the past few years, a pro­gramme of main­te­nance and em­bel­lish­ment of this church, which is the largest in Malta, was em­barked on not only to cre­ate a more ap­pro­pri­ate en­vi­ron­ment where the Chris­tian looks for and finds his Cre­ator but also to show the Mal­tese pub­lic, and the large num­ber of over­seas vis­i­tors, the faith and love which the Pao­lites have for their parish.

Amongst the projects which are cur­rently un­der way and some of which will be in­au­gu­rated dur­ing the an­niver­sary year in­clude the guild­ing of most of the church, the stucco apos­tles which adorn the cen­tral nave , the beau­ti­ful paint­ings which are dec­o­rat­ing all the side al­tars and es­pe­cially the four very large can­vasses which de­pict scenes from the life of Christ which affirm his king­ship, the com­ple­tion of the church’s pres­bytery and new Al­tar of the Blessed Sacra­ment to­gether with re­cent restora­tion of the old Church pul­pit ( made by four mas­ter car­pen­ters from Paola and do­nated to the church) and the choir stalls. T he largest of the projects meant to com­mem­o­rate this an­niver­sary is the com­ple­tion of the choir loft above the main door of the church.

The parish of Paola ded­i­cated to the Sa­cred Heart of Je­sus was founded by Bishop Pi­etro Pace in 1910 and the parish church which served the pas­toral needs of the com­mu­nity at the time was that of St Ubaldesca, built by Grand Mas­ter An­toine de Paule in 1630. The cor­ner stone of the new parish church was laid on the 24th Fe­bru­ary 1924 and the new church be­came the parish church on the 14th April 1936.

At the re­quest of the parish­ioners of the time, the Ec­cle­si­as­ti­cal Au­thor­i­ties gave their ap­proval for the tit­u­lar of the parish to be changed to that of Christ the King in 1945.

The com­ple­tion of the build­ing of the new parish church was marked by the in­stal­la­tion of a mar­ble cross on the dome on the 13th De­cem­ber 1959.

Arch­bishop Michael Gonzi flanked by Mgr Em­manuel Brin­cat and Mgr Franceso Xuereb dur­ing the cer­e­mony of the ded­i­ca­tion of the Parish Church on 3rd June 1967

The church as it is to­day

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