Valletta mayor Alfred Zammit on Friday announced a project that will see the restoration of the façade of the Collegiate Parish Church of St Paul's Shipwreck, one of Valletta’s oldest churches, dating back to the 1570s.

Zammit made the announcement at the end of the pontifical mass to mark the feast of St Paul the Shipwreck.

Many consider St Paul to be the spiritual father of the Maltese nation, making the Collegiate Parish Church of St Paul’s Shipwreck among the most important churches in Malta.

Project details

The project will be funded by the Development Planning Fund and will be backed by the Valletta Local Council. Although details were scarce, the mayor said it would involve installing a new lighting system for church.

Zammit pledged the council's administrative support to ensure the work is done without delay and said a tender would be issued as soon as the official agreement with the Planning Authority is signed.

The Development Planning Fund is a PA-run fund financed by fees developers pay for things such as planning gains or take-up of on-street parking. Funds are then disbursed to beneficiaries such as local councils for community-focused projects. 

The Archpriest, Canon David Cilia, thanked the council and the government for supporting what he described as a “national temple”.

The church has many artistic treasures including the outstanding altarpiece by Matteo Perez d'Aleccio, the choir and dome of Lorenzo Gafa as well as paintings by Attilio Palombi and Giuseppe Cali. The wooden statue of St Paul was carved in 1657 by Melchior Gafà.

Traditionally, the the statue is taken out in a procession around Valletta on the feast day of St Paul's Shipwreck, on February 10.

However, this year's procession was postponed to Saturday at 5.30pm because of the bad weather, the organisers said. All external events which were due to be held on Thursday and Friday were cancelled.

On Saturday, the Ghaqda Pawlini and the La Valette society will be holding an activity in Santa Lucia Street at 2pm.

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