The two victories of Malta – the Great Siege by the Ottoman Empire ending in 1565 and the Siege of Malta during World War II by the Italian army ending in 1943 – were commemorated during a ceremony held in Xagħra. The event included re-enactments of the Great Siege, the Black Plague of 1814 and scenes from World War II.
The programme started with Mass celebrated by Gozo diocese vicar general Mgr Tarcisio Camilleri together with the Collegiate Chapter and Xagħra parish clergy, with the participation of the Schola Cantorum Jubilate. After Mass, the Te Deum was intoned to mark the end of the Novena, celebrating the birth of the Virgin Mary, better known as the Nativity of Mary (Marija Bambina) at Xagħra basilica.
The commemoration continued at the square, highlighting the triumphal entry of Grand Master Jean Parisot de Valette and the Captain of the Order of St John, accompanied by the Knights and Maltese soldiers, the Malta Police Band and a military guard of honour.
Xagħra mayor Joe Cordina and archpriest Carmelo Refalo addressed the audience, followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the foot of a commemorative memorial set up in the square for the occasion.
Present for the ceremony were Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana, Mgr Dr Joe Vella Gauci, chairman of the National and Regional Celebrations Committee, and former Speaker Anton Tabone.
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