Mosta church could become a basilica

Mosta church could become a basilica and be granted special privileges by the pope

The Mosta church has the fourth largest unsupported dome in the world
The Mosta church has the fourth largest unsupported dome in the world

The Mosta church could become the ninth church in Malta to be conferred title of basilica. During this morning’s mass celebrating the santa Marija feast, parish priest Albert Buhagiar asked for Archbishop Charles Scicluna’s permission to formally apply for a minor basilica status.

The archbishop immediately agreed to the request and now it is up to the Vatican to decide wether the Mosta church should be accorded special privileges by the pope.

The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady was consecrated in 1871 and is commonly known as the Rotunda of Mosta and has the fourth largest unsupported dome in the world and the third largest in Euope.

There are two kinds of basilicas, with the world’s four major, or papal, basilicas being St. John Lateran, St. Peter, St. Paul Outside the Walls, and St. Mary Major, all in Rome.

Minor, or lesser, basilicas are significant churches in Rome and elsewhere in the world that meet certain criteria and are given special ecclesiastical privileges. Minor basilicas are traditionally named because of their antiquity, dignity, historical value, architectural and artistic worth, and significance as centers of worship.

A basilica must “stand out as a center of active and pastoral liturgy,” according to the 1989 Vatican document Domus ecclesiae.

Malta already boasts of three minor basilicas, namely the Basilicas of St Dominic and Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Valletta, and the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Of Ta' Pinu in Gozo.

Furthermore, there are another six collegiate basilicas. These include the Nativity of Mary church in Xaghra, St George's Basilica in Rabat, Gozo, Our Lady of Victories Parish church in Senglea, St Peter and St Paul church in Nadur, the Basilica of the Visitation in Gharb and St Helen's Basilica in Birkirkara.

The privileges attached to the status of minor basilica, which is conferred by papal brief, include a certain precedence before other churches, the right of the a baldachin resembling an umbrella and the bell (tintinnabulum), which are carried side by side in procession at the head of the clergy on state occasions, and the cappa magna which is worn by the canons or secular members of the collegiate chapter when assisting at the Divine Office.