Diocesan pilgrimage for feast of ‘Calling of Our Lady Ta’ Pinu’
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The programme of celebrations starts next week for the feast of the ‘Calling of Our Lady Ta’ Pinu,’ with the theme, ‘It is Faith, which like Mary, leads us to accept the Word.’
The celebration is spread over four days and a Diocesan pilgrimage opens the programme on Wednesday, the 19th of June, on the occasion of the Year of Faith, with Gozo Bishop Mario Grech, from the Pilgrim’s Monument at the beginning of the road that takes you to the Sanctuary.
This monument, located about a kilometre away from Ta’ Pinu National Shrine, symbolises the way of the pilgrim. It consists of the symbol of the cross and the figure of Our Blessed Virgin Mary at the lower part of the structure.
Our Lady is indicating the way to the Sanctuary with her left hand, while giving her maternal blessing with her right hand. For christians the Blessed Virgin is the model pilgrim, since she was Jesus’s first follower.
Traditionally, pilgrimages start from different parts of Gozo and after meeting at this same place where this monument has been erected, together they continue the final kilometre of their pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu.
The monument has been made by Gozitan Raymond Bonello, using hard rock from Gozo. The mosaic was done by the Italian firm Favret Artistic Mosaics of Pietrasanta. The mosaics that adorn the National Shrine of Ta’ Pinu together with the marble satutes of the Way of the Cross that are on Ghammar hill where also made at Pietrasanta.
The cross, made up of hard rock, represents the pain that every pilgrim has to endure on his way to heaven. The concept and design of this monument are the work of Fr. Roberto Gauci.Meanwhile, Ta ‘Pinu is currently undergoing the valuable project of restoration of the stained glass windows located in the two chapels.
Each window contains 165 pieces and has a four foot diameter. It is calculated that the restoration takes about ninety hours or more of work, depending on the damage found. The restoration of each window costs between € 800 and € 1000 and the sanctuary is aiming to raise funds for four windows, as two generous benefactors have already paid for the irst two.
The set of sixteen stained glass windows in the dome of Gozo’s Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary has been successfully restored and the restoration of the main window, which is also known as ‘The Rose Window’ has also recently been compeled and decorates the facade of the Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary, was made in Germany in 1931. It is a beautiful piece of stained glass artistry, but has been subject to the elements for the last eighty years or so.
Therefore the need was felt by the Sanctuary to embark on the restoration process of the main window on its Neo-Romantic façade.
The window is made up of eight panels and each one of them is about 1.70 metres wide. The stained glass is made up of 760 pieces of glass. Each individual piece of glass was taken out the iron holders and cleaned and then put back again on galvanised frames through a different technique. The broken pieces of glass had to be changed. For better protection, a protective piece of glass has been applied on every panel.
The work of restoration was undertaken by Mr Joe Meilak, teacher of stained glass at the Wistin Camilleri School of Arts in Ghajnsielem, in 2011 he restored the dome windows. The project took more than 343 hours of painstaking work to complete and was carried out with much patience and dedication.
New lighting has been installed at the front of the Sanctuary and original paintings by prominent Maltese artist Emvin Cremona have been restored, as well as those by Joseph Briffa. The restoration of the paintings has beeen carried out through the assistance of European funds.
In the coming months it is expected that the Museum of the residence of Karmni Grima in Gharb.
Anybody who would like to assist in this worthwhile restoration project of the stained glass windows in the Sanctuary, may wish to do so as a gift for the feast of Madonna ta ‘Pinu. All donations will be issued with a receipt.
Everyone is welcome to join in the celebrations at Ta’ Pinu and for pilgrims coming from Malta and who are without a car, the Arriva bus service runs from Mgarr to Victoria Gozo, it is then possible to catch a direct bus to Ta ‘Pinu
For more information, please visit the website http://www.tapinu.org/.