Fourth Sunday in July

marian calendar     july

Madonna Tal-Karmnu, Zurrieq, Malta

Devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel was strong in Zurrieq by 1653, when a painting of her was installed in the rebuilt parish church of St. Catherine (est. 1436). In 1800, when Maltese defenders were resisting Napoleon's occupation of their capital Valletta, a devotee of the Madonna of Carmel, Giovanni Maria Borg, took refuge in Zurrieq on the south coast. The following year, he established the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel there with 90 charter members, including the mayor. In 1842, the Confraternity commissioned a polychrome wood processional statue from a leading sculptor, Salvu Psaila.

The Confraternity supports Our Lady's elaborate festivities in late July, together with the Carmelite Society and the Queen Victoria Band Club, which runs the Mt. Carmel Fireworks Factory. Although the festa of the Madonna Tal-Karmnu in Zurrieq is especially spectacular, it is also typical of Maltese religious celebrations. Almost everything, from the processional statuary to the hymns and fireworks, has been locally and lovingly created. Starting on the third Sunday, the streets are decorated with lights, banners, and images of saints and angels. The flat roofs around the town square support a forest of poles hung with flags by day and lights by night. All week prayers, matins, vespers, and masses are said, culminating on the fourth Sunday with a solemn high mass and panegyric in praise of the Madonna, with choir and orchestra. After Sunday vespers, fireworks announce the start of a long procession, which wends through the streets to the square for more fireworks and the singing of special hymns with band accompaniment, after which the procession returns to the church for final benediction and sung antiphon. The Maltese website for the Zurrieq devotions and festivities is www.talkarmnuzurrieq.tk. (Information from Google's cache of www.carmelitesocietyzurrieq.com. Picture from www.zurrieq.gov.mt.)  

Also celebrated this date:

Madonna dell'Angelo, Piovene Rochette, Vicenzo, Veneto, Italy. Festa del voto (1631 plague). Reenactment pageant 1st Sun. July.
Nostra Signora delle Grazie, Santo Stefano di Magra, La Spezia, Liguria, Italy
Madonna dei Castiglioni, Madonnetta, La Spezia, Liguria, Italy
Madonna di Loreto, Fontana Liri, Frosinone, Latium, Italy (penultimate weekend)
Madonna della Sanitŕ, Vallecorsa, Frosinone, Latium, Italy
Maria Santissima Consolatrice del Carpinello, Visciano, Napoli, Campania, Italy (penultimate Sunday)
Madonna del Terzito, Leni, Messina, Sicily, Italy
El Carmen, Villapresente, Reocín, Saja-Nansa, Cantabria, Spain
 

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly