The Feast of the Immaculate Conception at St Francis Church, in Victoria, Gozo, is being celebrated this year from today, Tuesday the 6th of December through to Thursday, the 8th of December 2011.
The full schedule of events for this popular annual feast are listed below:
Tuesday, 6th December 2011- Third day of the Solemn Triduum.
6.30 p.m.: Solemn Mass presided by Mgr. Anton Refalo Zammit. Sermon by Rev. Peter Paul Cachia O.S.A. Hymn, antiphon and Eucharistic Benediction.
Wednesday, 7th December 2011 – Conclusion of the Solemn Triduum.
7.30 a.m.: Solemn Mass presided by Rev. George Attard OFM Conv. Conclusion with solemn singing of the Te Deum hymn.
Wednesday, 7th December 2011 – Vigil of the Solemnity.
5.15 p.m.: Solemn Translation and pontifical celebration of the first vespers of the solemnity, presided by Rev. Alfred Calleja OFM Conv., Minister Provincial of the Franciscan Conventual Community in Malta.
6.30 p.m.: Pontifical concelebration presided by H.E. Mgr. Mario Grech, Bishop of Gozo.
8.00 p.m.: The La Stella band and the Santa Margherita band play marches, starting from St. Francis Square and Archbishop Pietro Pace Street respectively, and ending at St. Francis Square.
8.30 p.m.: Popular demonstration with the statue of the Immaculate Conception (Paul Aquilina, 2002) with the participation of the La Stella band and the Santa Margherita band.
Thursday, 8th December 2011 – Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
9.30 a.m.: High Mass presided by Rev. Alfred Xuereb, Secretariat of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Rev. Giovann Bosco Cremona, will deliver the panegyric in honour of the Immaculate Conception.
5.00 p.m.: Concelebration of the Second Vespers of the Solemnity presided by Mgr. Alfred Xuereb.
5.45 p.m.: The La Stella band of Victoria hails the appearance of the statue of the Immaculate Conception (Salvatore Psaila 1848) with the hymn Lodate Maria (G. Flamingo).
6.00 p.m.: Pontifical procession along the main streets of the city, led by Mgr. Alfred Xuereb, with the participation of the members of the religious community and the members of the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception (1663). The La Stella band accompanies the procession with the performance of religious hymns.
6.15 p.m.: March by the Mnarja band (Nadur) from Enrico Mizzi Street to St. Francis Square, followed by a musical programme on the Church parvis by the same band.
8.00 p.m.: Triumphal entrance of the statue of the Immaculate Conception into St. Francis Church, followed by the execution of the antiphon Hodie Egressa Est (Mgr. Giuseppe Farrugia, 1884) and Eucharistic Benediction.