Victoria Day Mass & conferral of Gieh il-Belt Victoria awards
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Victoria Day was commemorated on Monday with a Thanksgiving Mass was celebrated at St Augustine’s Church in the evening, which was followed by the customary annual ceremony at the Gozo National Library, where four distinguished citizens of our city were awarded Gieh il-Belt Victoria, a sign of official recognition of their valuable contribution to society. The presentations were made by the Mayor of Victoria, Dr Samuel Azzopardi.
Last Monday’s ceremony saw this honour being conferred to Mgr Guzeppi Farrugia, a renowned academic and Archpriest Emeritus of St George’s parish; Robert Tabone, who served as Mayor of Victoria in recent years; Rev. Egidju Mizzi ofmconv, a Biblical scholar who worked with others on the Maltese translation of the Bible and Sr Skolastika Grech fsc, a Franciscan nun who served in Brazil as missionary for forty years.
Three of four in this list hail from St George’s parish, Mgr Guzeppi Farrugia, Archpriest Emeritus of St George’s Basilica, holds a Doctorate in Fundamental Theology from the Gregorian Pontifical University of Rome, he teaches at the University of Malta and also at the Gozo Major Seminary, where future priests are formed.
He has been a promoter of artistic patronage and various cultural projects. The latest step in this direction has been the creation of new interactive Museum next to St George’s Basilica, Il-Hagar – Heart of Gozo, set up by Fondazzjoni Belt Victoria thanks to EU funds. Mgr Farrugia was the brain behind the vision, the machine that pumped energy into the project and now is the Museum’s first curator.
Mgr Farrugia, a learned theolgian and academic, author of various scholarly articles and books, also serves as chaplain of the Victoria Scout Group, spiritual director of the La Stella Philharmonic Society and President of the Commission Malta in Europe of the Maltese Bishop’s Conference.
Another distinguished scholar honoured last Monday is Patri Egidju Mizzi, who actually forms part of the Gozitan community of the Franciscan Conventual friars in Victoria. Holding a Licence degree in Sacred Scripture from the Biblical Pontifical Institute of Rome, Mizzi has been a Professor of Sacred Scripture and Biblical Languages in many academic institutions and served also on many important posts in the Maltese Franciscan Conventual Province.
What perhaps has been his most important contribution to the field of Biblical studies is the translation of various Old Testament books for the Maltese edition of the Bible published by the Maltese Bible Society. Last December, the President of Malta conferred on Mizzi the Gieh ir-Repubblika Medal.
Robert Tabone, married to Lorna, is the son of Anton Tabone, who served in many important roles: as Minister for Gozo, Speaker, and also Acting President of Malta. Robert was Mayor of Victoria for four years, from 2006 to 2009.
One very important project he worked on was the refurbishment of St George’s Square, which, unfortunately, to date, is still unfinished. During his tenure as Mayor, a twinning agreement was signed between Victoria and Nichelino in Northern Italy. Robert worked actively to promote the city of Victoria in national and international fora alike.
Sr Skolastika Grech is performing a very important ministry with the sick at the Franciscan Congregation of the Sacred Heart’s mother house in Palm Street.