Independence Day Solemn Pontifical Mass of Thanksgiving


After a lapse of some years, the Maltese Association accepted an official invitation extended to it by the National Festivities Board and participated once again at the Independence Day Solemn Pontificial Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated at St. John’s Co-Cathedral at 10.00 a.m. in the morning of 21 September 2016.

The Association is very grateful to the Rector of the co-Cathedral and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their assistance with these arrangements.

Nine Members of the Association, lead by the President and accompanied by our Austrian confrère Nicholas Altgraf zu Salm-Reifferscheidt, processed ahead of the clergy wearing their Church robes and took their places on the side benches alongside the Judiciary, in a return to the old seating protocol. The Chancellor and the Hospitaller were also in attendance. Mr. Frederick Mifsud Bonnici was the standard bearer.

Archbishop Mgr. Charles Scicluna, who was the Main Celebrant, delivered a most poignant homily, focused on the four values of governance of the state: unity, goodness, truthfulness, and beauty. A printed copy of the homily, in English and Maltese, was distributed along with a Holy Mass booklet which was printed for the occasion.

The congregation included the Acting President, the Chief Justice, the Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and MPs from both sides of the House of Representatives (the President and the Prime Minister were abroad on official duties). Various members of the Diplomatic Corps were also present.

Present for this year’s High Mass were a number of visitors, a unit of officers cadet from the Maria Theresianische Austrian Military Academy, whose unit is dedicated to Nikolaus Graf von Weissenwolff. The latter was a Professed member of the Order, and instrumental in the defeat of the Napoleonic forces in the battle of Leipzig, for which he was awarded Austria’s highest military honour.

After Mass, the President of the Maltese Association, Marchesino Daniel de Petri Testaferrata gave a lecture on the Order in present time at Casa Lanfreducci, for the benefit of our guests. The cadets were accompanied by a number of officers, among which a descendent of Nikolaus Graf von Weissenwolff, Nicholas Altgraf zu Salm-Reifferscheidt.

Our President was presented a gift by the officers after the lecture.  An informal reception with refreshments followed.