Book on the pastoral visit of Bishop De Bussan in Mosta

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Arts & Culture — 06 March 2010 — 11:30CEST

Following the success of the book about the history of the Popes entitled “Fuq it-Tron ta’ Pietru” by Stanley Mangion, the Holy Name Society has issued another publication which is also the work of the same author.
This time it is an original translation from Latin and is entitled “Il-Viżta Pastorali tal-Isqof De Bussan fil-Parroċċa tal-Mosta” (The Pastoral Visit of Bishop De Bussan at the Mosta Parish).

A very interesting introduction to this booklet is written by Mario Thomas Vassallo, a member of the academic staff at the University of Malta. The cover shows a painting of Bishop De Bussan which is found at the Żebbug Parish Church.

This booklet is dedicated to Fr Anġeliku Vella O.P. who led the Holy Name Society for 30 years and who, throughout all these years, worked very hard to make the society known and to help this same society achieve its goals, that is to give praise to the Lord and help eradicate or, at least lessen, blasphemy on the island.

The visit of Bishop Mons Paolo Alpheran de Bussan to the parish of Mosta took place between May 31 and June 1, 1744. At the time Malta was ruled by the Knights of St John under Grand Master Fra Emmanuel de Fonseca.

After leaving the parish of Naxxar, the Bishop and his delegates were met by the hard-working Parish Priest of Mosta, Fr Ġwann Anġlu Sammut, by the priests and clerics as well as by a huge crowd who all accompanied the Bishop and his delegates with great pomp down to the house where he was to stay during his short visit.

Then, walking under a canopy, Bishop de Bussan was escorted to the Parish Church where he celebrated a solemn mass.

Following mass, the exercise to check all the belongings of the Church started. The assets of the Parish were checked with a very critical eye. This meant that all monies left during masses and other acts of charity were strictly audited. Orders were given to change some things while recommendations were made to alter others.

During this visit the Bishop administered the Sacrament of Confirmation and the giving of the tonsure to the clerics. There were also individual interviews with each and every priest and their personal merit and their work in the parish were thoroughly scrutinised. Also, exams were held for some candidates who were preparing for the priesthood.

There is no doubt that this booklet is of extreme interest as it gives a clear picture of the religious and financial situation of Mosta at that time. It makes readers appreciative to the people of Mosta who at that time totalled to around 1,700 and who were mainly farmers but whom, in their simplicity, contributed so generously to enrich the church dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady.

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