Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ta'Pinu Basilica, Gozo, Malta

The first church in Ta'Pinu was a simple 1500s chapel cared for by Fillipino Gauci, nicknamed Pinu. In 1883, Carmela Grima heard a voice asking her to visit the chapel and pray three Hail Marys. She told only one friend, who also happened to hear the voice many times. The subsequent months saw a variety of miraculous cures at the chapel. The next year saw Gozo escape a plague that struck Malta. Suddenly many offerings were coming in to the chapel, so much so that they were able to build a larger neo-Romanesque church. In 1932, Pope Pius XI gave the church the status of basilica.

Ta'Pinu Basilica

Front view

Many fine statues are located outside in the parking area. Across the street and up Ghammar Hill are fourteen sets of statues representing the Stations of the Cross. We didn't go up the hill since the children were running low on energy, but we saw one of the statues from the garden.

King David

St. Anne and the child Mary

Garden with the white Stations of the Cross statues in the distance

The interior of the church is quite impressive, though it does show signs of a recent renovation. The entrance floor proudly declares in Latin that Pope John Paul II visited in 1990.



The main altar has a baldachino over it, in imitation of the tent in which the Ark of the Covenant was kept. The top of the baldachino even has several Old Testament figures like Moses, David, and Melchizedek.

Main altar with baldachino

Moses, High Priest, David



Two small side tables flank the back of the main altar, seemingly used for sacred vessels or other items needed during liturgies. The bases of the altars have the four evangelists in their symbolic forms--a man for Matthew, a lion for Mark, a cow for Luke, and an eagle for John.

Side table with evangelists

Another table with more evangelists!

Behind the altar is an ornate chair that probably also is a 1990 addition after John Paul II's visit.

Papal chair

Above the chair is a fine decoration.

Apse decorations (click to enlarge)

Behind the chair is the small cell from the original chapel. Here the faithful are invited to put forward their petitions for divine intervention. In case visitors are stumped what to ask for, a form with check boxes for all sorts of requests, from "more priests"  to "Catholic boyfriend," is available. L and J both wanted to fill out forms. J read through the list and checked everything except for three of them (I'm sure "Catholic boyfriend" was unchecked for him); L chose a few and added her own petition--"that our iPad will always work and not break."

A nearby hall shows items left after cures.

Miracle testimonials

Gifts in honor of cures

The church has some fine mosaics and other beautiful yet typical items for churches.

Altar of the Visitation

Mosaic of the Annunciation

Processional cross


Cool holy water font

This is the last post for Malta. We'll see some more of England in the coming weeks and then Normandy, France, just in time for D-Day!

No comments:

Post a Comment