The first Maltese-Scottish event took place in Perth this weekend to celebrate a national hoilday – St Paul’s feast day, which actually falls on February 10, is a national holiday in Malta and a celebration was held for the holiday on Saturday, February 9 at St Mary Magdalene church in Perth.
Mass was celebrated by Fr Edward Vella, Deacon Jean Gove and Mgr Charles Hendry and it will be in Maltese and English. This is a special event in the Maltese calendar and is of great significance to Malta and its people.”
Marilou Ciantar, assistant organiser for the event, said: “A group of Maltese nationals living in Scotland are getting together to commemorate the event.
“This was the idea of Fr Edward Vella, parish priest at St Bride’s RC church in Pitlochry.”
“It celebrates the shipwreck of St Paul on the Island of Malta, then known by its Roman name of Melita. Paul was on his way to Rome to undergo trial when a violent storm led to his ship beingwrecked. All aboard swam ashore to safety. This event is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles ( Chapter 28) and this makes the country one of only 18 modem nations to be mentioned in the Bible, ‘Later we learned that the island was called Melita. And the people who lived there showed us great kindness, and they made a fire and called us all to warm ourselves.”
“The shipwreck ( around AD 60) is thought to have occurred in the area known as St Paul’s Bay and St Paul’s Island; a statue on the island commemorates this event. This is how Malta, which was a pagan country at the time, converted to Christianity. The governor of the day, Publius became a Christian, and was appointed as the first Bishop of Malta.”
“It is thought that the site of Publius’ home is marked by the cathedral in medieval city of Mdina. The feast of St Paul is the first in the Maltese calendar of village festas and heralds the arrival of spring.”
Following Mass, lunch was celebrated at Paco’s Restaurant, Perth.