Blessing of the animals for Feast of Saint Anthony the Abbot in Xaghra
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On Sunday Xaghra celebrated the traditional feast of Saint Anthony the Abbot. There was a programme of events in the morning, including a concelebrated Mass led by The Bishop of Gozo Mgr Mario Grech.
In the afternoon a procession with the statue of St Anthony the Abbot left from the Basilica, accompanied by the Victory band, followed by the blessing of animals on St Anton Square.Saint Anthony enjoys great devotion in Xaghra. He was the first patron saint of Xaghra Parish between 1688 and 1692 before the construction of Xaghra Parish Church which was dedicated to the Nativity of Our Lady.
Saint Anthony is an important figure in the Catholic Church and he is considered as the Father of Monasticism which started the solitary life in the desert for the service of God. He is the protector Saint of animals.
This is the oldest feast of the blessing of animals, which can trace its beginnings to the time of the Order of St. John when the Grand Master used to send his animals to be blessed.
Photographs by Alain Salvary