It might look like an ordinary townhouse from the outside, but nestled along a suburban road in Marsa, a small home has been transformed into a chapel, the dream of its devoted owner for more than 20 years.  

Mario Grima, who inherited the property from his uncle, had been planning the transformation for 20 years.Mario Grima, who inherited the property from his uncle, had been planning the transformation for 20 years.

Mario Grima told the Times of Malta how the St Joseph House of Prayer held its first Mass earlier this week, shortly after being christened by Archbishop Charles Scicluna.

“We had something like 100 people crammed in from all over the island for the first Mass,” Mr Grima said. 

The Mass was such a success, in fact, that many of the attendees had to sit in a room adjacent to that which has been transformed into a chapel. The next room is filled with chairs which face a TV hooked up via Bluetooth to a web cam that allows them to follow the Mass too. 

“Yes, we have a camera, and speakers pick up the sermon which can then be heard from all around the building,” Mr Grima said, as he showed the Times of Malta through to the confessional room.   

The chapel, which holds Mass on the first Monday of every month, is dedicated to the sanctification of the clergy, the holy souls in purgatory, and the family.  

Something like 100 people crammed in from all over the island for the first Mass

Walking through the hallway, every inch of it dripping with religious iconography, relics and statues, Mr Grima explained how the house of prayer may not be the first on the island, but it was the first to hold Mass and be allowed to reserve the sacrament. 

Around 40 priests are lined up to celebrate Mass in the new chapel over the coming months. 

Mr Grima said every Mass day would see two priests at the chapel, one to celebrate Mass and the other to take confession.  

A devotee of St Joseph himself, Mr Grima said he received calls around the clock from people who wanted to visit the chapel, or others who just needed help with some burden or another.  

The property which today houses the chapel, had belonged to Mr Grima’s late uncle, and was bequeathed to him. Once a long standing tenant had also passed away, Mr Grima was finally in a position to start working on setting up the chapel. 

“With the help of a benefactor, and many friends and contributors, the chapel is open. We now look forward to building a community of faith,” he said.  

To find out more about the chapel look out for its Facebook page, Dar tat-Talb San Ġuzepp.

Photos: Matthew MirabelliPhotos: Matthew Mirabelli