Four hundred years ago – on September 6, 1620 – a diocesan Synod presided over by Bishop Baldassare Cagliares at the Mdina Cathedral declared St Ursula patron saint of Gozo. This anniversary is being commemorated at the Gozo Cathedral with a triduum that started yesterday, October 21, at 6pm. A prayer meeting, led by Fr Marcello Ghirlando ofm, will be held on Saturday at 6pm. On Sunday, October 25, Gozo Bishop Anton Teuma will lead a concelebrated Pontifical Mass together with the Cathedral Chapter at 8am.

Saint Ursula, reputed to be a missionary princess from Roman Britannia, was martyred by the Huns near Cologne. Devotion to the saint in Gozo began in 1614, when Eugenio-Romirez Maldonado, a Knight from Salamanca and Governor of Gozo, donated a bust of the saint with her arm bone to the Matrice, the Gozo Cathedral. With the arrival of the bust, devotion towards the saint shot up and, six years later, Saint Ursula was declared patron saint of Gozo.

St Ursula’s intercession against natural catastrophes was always on the minds of Gozitans. In the past, three votive processions, in which the civil authorities also took part, were held throughout the year in thanksgiving for deliverance from various calamities. Two years ago, a short procession with the relic of St Ursula around the Citadel was introduced. However, due to current circumstances, it will not be held this year.

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