Feast of St Sebastian 2012 (Festa ta' San Bastjan) - Qormi Malta A story of courage and resilience at Citta' Pinto!
A story of courage and resilience at Citta' Pinto!
In 2012, the feast of St Sebastian is going to be held on the 15th of July. This festa is celebrated in Qormi, Malta.
The city (old name - Citta' Pinto) has a population of around 18,500 making it the 2nd largest locality on the Maltese Islands.
The San Sebastjan (or Bastjan in short) Parish Church was built in 1986, so quite “modern” when compared to most of the other churches on the island.
The present church was built after it was felt that the old church (which was built in 1889) was getting too small for the ever increasing population of the city.
Who was St Sebastian?
Saint Sebastian or San Bastjan as he’s known in Maltese, was born in the South of France.
His parents were Italian.
He was raised a devout Christian with a strong character and moral values.
When he was 28 years of age, he joined the Roman army.
Due to his military skill and prowess, he was soon given an important role in the army.
During his time, Christians were experiencing continuous persecution with most of them ending up in prison and martyred. St Sebastian used to visit these Christians in prison and comfort them with his wise words.
While there he used to spread the word of God with pagans as well.
His mission came to an abrupt end when the Emperor called to see him. The Emperor wanted to know whether it was true that he was a Christian. St Sebastian did not hesitate to confirm that he was indeed a Christian.
The Emperor was furious and he gave orders for St Sebastian to be given a slow and painful death. He demanded that Sebastian had to be tied to a tree and arrows were to be shot at him one after the other in a continuous and slow manner to make his death even more painful!
After this exruciating ordeal, a local woman took his body (which by now had become covered in blood and wounds) to bury him. To her surprise, she realized that Sebastian was still alive!
She took him into her home and took care of him until he got better and stronger.
As soon as St Sebastian felt that he was strong enough to carry on with his mission to help Christians and convert pagans to the Christian faith, he bravely went to speak to the Emperor again!
The Emperor was very shocked to see him, since he thought that he had died!
For the second time, the Emperor ordered that St Sebastian be killed. This time he wanted to make sure that he died because he ordered his soldiers to beat him to death right in front of him. Unfortunately the second time around, they succeeded.
The courageous story of this saint makes him one of the most loved and venerated on the island, especially in the town of Qormi.
Feast of St Sebastian: What you’ll see ...
If you’re visiting Malta in July, then it’s well worth checking whether your visit will coincide with this popular festa.
At the St Sebastian festa you’ll see wonderful street decorations, listen to fantastic renditions of popular marches, experience first hand the enthusiasm that the Bastjanizi (members of the St Sebastian parish) have for their patron saint, admire the fantastic fireworks displays and much more!
For more information on this feast, visit the website of the parish church www.qormisbparish.org or contact the Parish Office on Tel. No. ++356 21 486350.