"Today we have many things on which we spend our time: some spend it on football, others on horses, while some spend it in amusement. Therefore, can't we find time to hear a Mass every Sunday and ask God's blessing before we come out of Church?"
Guza Mifsud (June 1996)
Mass at Girgenti
MASS AT GIRGENTI
On Wednesday, March 19, 2003, feast of St. Joseph, hundreds of faithful participated in a mass celebrated by Mgr. Amante Buontempo at Girgenti. During the homily, Mgr. Buontempo said: "I am saying this mass with the special permission of our beloved Archbishop. He wanted to give me a rose which I am going to place at the feet of the Blessed Virgin so that she will propagate it and it will keep on flowering.
I want everyone to understand how many tears I shed when the Archbishop himself, informed me (on the previous Friday) that he was giving this permission to me alone and for one occasion. He also left me free to choose the day and the time.
I reflected for some time and prayed for guidance from above. I decided that the best and most suitable day, considering my fragile health and my old age, is today, the feast of Saint Joseph. Moreover, Joseph is the name of Mgr. Archbishop who granted me this permission, besides being also that of Guza Mifsud, who has bound me steadfastly to this holy place.
There is no doubt that Saint Joseph is the saint who is closest to Mary and her son Jesus, who today for the first time and for now the last time will be with us in the Holy Eucharist, the keystone of Christian Belief. Until the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist does not form part of our meetings, every prayer meeting we organise will lack the greatest element of its value. Now, after this short introduction which I chose for today's unique celebration, let us try to understand something about the pious Saint Joseph and that which he teaches us.
I say that there are three historical truths about Joseph of Nazareth... We know all three from the Gospel... Saint Matthew the Evangelist, after listing the genealogy of Joseph, concluded his account by saying: "Jacob, the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ."
In the eyes of his relatives and of the few friends he might have had, Joseph was only a good man, who when ready to marry, took Mary who came from his same lineage, as his spouse... and this to fulfil the prophecy which said that the Messiah must come from the house of David. This first truth about Joseph has its historical conclusion in the fact that when he realised that Mary was with child, whom he knew was not his... he wanted to send her "away quietly"... Saint Matthew attributes this secrecy about his wife's apparent shortcoming to Joseph's character in being a just man, who did not want to disclose her condition...
The greatest truth is that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, whom Joseph by legal right was her husband, and therefore head of the family, was not one from among thousands and millions of women, but the Blessed among all women, the Immaculate Conception, the Mother of the Son of God. In Saint Matthew's gospel we read the clear and evident words of the angel of God, who appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him: "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit"...
The third truth derives from the last sentence of today's gospel. In fact Saint Matthew concludes as follows: "she — that is Mary — will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus". It is evident that Joseph had... the same rights and obligations, which every father has over his children... Here I see the greatness of Saint Joseph, who with a legal and legitimate right, the Son of God made man used to call him father, and even obey his orders...
I conclude with the social condition of Joseph, who as a humble carpenter, had the duty to look after Jesus in his youth, and was even his master. Therefore, we can justly claim that while Joseph had the duty to educate Jesus when the latter was growing up in that he was similar to us in everything except in sin, we must recognise Joseph as the first disciple of Jesus, the Son of God... He surely spent his whole life as the humblest servant of the Lord and we cannot not compare him with the useful teaching and strong appeal addressed towards us all: "who wants to be my disciple, must deny himself, carry his cross and follow Me."
We must recall that Guza had great devotion towards Saint Joseph. She used to claim that she had various visions of this saint and it was he himself who asked her to place his statue at Girgenti.
Three years later, on Sunday March 19, 2006, the Rev. Father Nazzaren Tonna, our Spiritual Director reaped the fruit of his persistent requests when the Archbishop Mgr. Joseph Mercieca granted him permission to celebrate the second mass at Girgenti.
As expected, Fr. Tonna expressed his gratitude as follows, "I thank the Lord God, I thank you Mary, Mother of God for forwarding our requests to your son Jesus, I thank you St. Joseph for providing us with this place on your feast day, this sanctuary which is so dear to us, wherein we will celebrate with faith, hope and true love the sacrifice of the mass, a pledge of the greatest love and blessing from Heaven where undoubtedly our sister in Christ, the virtuous Guza Mifsud is interceding for us before God. I am sure that with her great conviction of her beliefs and her efforts she interceded for us and for our other brethren who meet here twice a month to fulfil God's will…
We will offer this mass today in thanksgiving to God and we will also pray for the Archbishop who himself insisted that we should pray for him. Although the Archbishop told me that he is granting his permission just for one mass, yet we should thank the Lord.... these are all promising signs for the future, for a peaceful and happy future, in relation to what our sister in Christ Guza used to tell us..."
On August 5, 2007, the then Archbishop of Malta Mgr. Paul Cremona O.P., granted Rev. Father Nazzaren Tonna the permission to celebrate another mass at Girgenti. This permission was granted on the occasion of Rev. Tonna's fiftieth anniversary of his priestly ordination. Several years had to pass by before Fr. Eusebio Debono ocd was granted permission to celebrate mass. His wish came true on June 1, 2014 to mark his fiftieth anniversary of his ordination. However, in the latter years, Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna has granted various civil and religious groups and private individuals the necessary permission to have mass celebrated in this holy place.
November 4, 2007 was another important date at Girgenti because Mgr. Cremona granted the Committee the permission to hold the first Eucharistic Adoration at Girgenti. This adoration was led by Rev. Nazzaren Tonna who was assisted by Fr. Lawrence Galea. During this adoration the congregation amongst others recited various prayers of praise, thanksgiving and reparation and listened to various extracts from Guza's messages about the Eucharist. A Eucharistic Adoration is held yearly and for various years these adorations were led by the late Mgr. Adeodato Micallef, Bishop Emeritus of Kuwait.
Numerous Holy Masses were celebrated over the years but one which will be greated remembered was celebrated on September 21, 2023 by Fr. Josef Mifsud, Archpriest of Siggiewi. This Holy Mass preceded the blessing of the statue of the suffering Christ made and donated by Indri Attard.