During the last 10 years the Zejtun Parish undertook a number of major projects.
The first one was a structural intervention on one of the main pillars structure carrying the Church Dome. Due to some structural changes which were done during the 20th Century the front right hand pillar was weakened. Thus a special intervention was done to inject concrete to fill any gaps which have resulted. A number of long stainless steel studs were bonded inside the pillar with epoxy resin and a ‘flunch’ was tightened to tie the structure horizontally.
The complete internal electrical installation was replaced and a new modern switchboard complete with switchgear was installed.
A Parochial Centre at Gebel San Martin, also known as St Clement Zone was built.
A Catechism Centre, ‘Dar it-Taghlim’ was purchased to serve the children at St Gregory Zone.
An old house nearby the Parish Church, ‘Dar Santa Katarina’, was procured and refurbished to act as a Social Centre for the Zejtun Community.
The 800 chairs at the Parish Church were refurbished after they have been in use for about 30 years.
The Statue of St Catherine and its pedestal were restored during the past year and were brought back to Zejtun on the 4th of June 2005 in time for the Centenary Celebrations. They were welcomed by a large crowd at Bir-id-Deheb, near the Chuch of Our Lady of Mercy and accompanied by the two bands of Zejtun through a number of streets. Along the route a warm welcome was given by all present.
The Oak Platform (Bradella) on which the statue of St Catherine is carried and its Oak Stand (Bankun) on which the complete Statue and Platform stands on in the Church during the Feast days are planned to be restored in the coming three years, having the first interventions between July and October 2005.
Restoration work on the external roof of St Gregory Church has been completed during last November. The necessary Building Permits to start restoration work on the exterior walls of the Church were received during September and work is planned to start during this November. In the meantime, Fr Anton Abela, the Rector of this church is current raising the necessary funds by an appeal for individual donations from the congregation. This project is being done by the Restoration Unit of the Ministry of Infrastructure under the responsibility of Architect Norbert Gatt, A&CE. The technical supervision and labour is being given free by the Ministry of Infrastructure. Labour cost and equipment renting will be made good by the funds being raised by Fr Anton Abela.
The documentation on the main Parish Church, its Oratory and Parochial Centre has just been completed by the Malta Restoration Centre, Bighi. Presently they are preparing the Technical Report of Restoration Methodology of the facade of the Oratory of the Blessed Sacrament.
During May a new Bell was inaugurated after it was donated by Mr and Mrs Joseph Vella. This bell replaced the old large bell, Caterina, which developed damage beyond repair.Presently three more bells are expected to arrive in Malta on 2nd November 2005. The Blessing Ceremony is provisionally planned for Sunday 13th November at 0930hrs. It is planned that they will be inaugurated on 20th November during the thanksgiving pilgrimage with the statue of St Catherine V.M. Thus the right hand belfry will be completed with a set of five bells all cast and tuned by John Taylors Bell Founders of the UK.
The Parish Church Organ is planned to have a complete restoration intervention during the coming three years.
Restoration of Titular Statue and Pedestal
The project was launched in 2003 by the previous Archpriest Fr Alfred Vella and was included as one of a number of ongoing projects for the immediate future. The chairs at the Parish Church was on the top priority with the Statue Restoration the second.
He contracted Mr Horace Farrugia of Imdina, a leading Guilder in Malta and immediately after the feast of 2004 the statue had to go to Farrugia’s Laboratory to ensure that the work will be completed before June 2005 for the Centenary Celebrations.
On the arrival of Fr Eric Overend as Archpriest, he gave this project the necessary backing and a Fund Raising Campaign for this aim was initiated.On the arrival of Fr Eric Overend as Archpriest, he gave this project the necessary backing and a Fund Raising Campaign for this aim was initiated.
The Statue and its pedestal was completely restored and it was given a deserving welcome on Saturday 4th June 2005.
For full details and images visit the relevant pages and Slide Shows on this site.
(1030hrs UTC, 13th July 2005.)
Restoration on Titular Statue’s Platform (Bradella)
The ‘Bradella of St Catherine’s Statue have been in long need of restoration as some of the parts have been damaged due to aging and storage conditions.
The Good Friday Committee, last year agreed to take the responsibility to raise the necessary funds for this project. The estimated costs for the restoration of the ‘Bradella’ and its ‘Bankun’ are estimated to be over Lm5,000.
This week a Zejtun restorer, Vanni il-Kaw has taken the ‘Bradella’ to his Laboratory to start undertaking some scientific samples to decide what type of interventions will be required.
During the first 6 months of this year, he had already done some testing samples on small parts of the wooden ‘Bradella’ and its ‘Bankun’.
The project is planned for a 3-year span to ensure that the necessary funds are raised in time.
Restoration of the painting of Our Lady of the Rosary
Some three years ago the Painting on the Altar of Our Lady of the Rosary at Zejtun Parish Church was damaged after it fell out its place.
The painting which approximately 12 by 8ft, had extensive damage as the canvas was torn completely along its lower part when it hit one of the candle stands on the altar.
Fr Eric Overend took care to arrange to have this painting repaired and restored at Malta Restoration Centre, Bighi Malta.
They started the work towards the end on 2004.
The work was much specialised in nature and they made the minimum possible interventions to preserve the painting to its original state.
The work is now in its advance stages and the painting is expected back in its place during October coming.The MRC had documented all the interventions and have a number of photographs to support the final report when it is compiled at the end of the task. We intend to publish it on this site as soon as we have it in hand.
The restored painting was welcomed at Zejtun Parish on 4th October and a Choir Concert was organised as part of the celebrations to commemorate its return. On the same evening the painting was fixed at its permanent place on th altar of Our Lady of the Rosary.