Birkirkara
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Birkirkara

St.Helen-Parish Church
Birkirkara is one of the ten parishes, which existed in 1436, the year of the Roll drawn up by the bishop of Malta Senatore Mello. The parish was first dedicated to Our Lady. St Helen as the titular Saint of the church, which we have today, was established in the 1727. The church which is probably on the plan of Duminku Cachia, started to function on the 19th of April 1745 when it was blessed by P.Alpheran de Bussan Bishop of Malta. St.Helen is the seat of a Capitular Chapter, this having been installed in the Old Church through the endowments of Dun Filippo Borg in 1630. In 1950 it was given Basilica status. Dedication date: 20th October 1782.

Assumption-Parish church
Up to 1727 was the original Parish Church for all Birkirkara. The present building was started in 1617 and was finished in 1655 on the plan of Vittorio Cassar. A medieval Annunciation Chapel was demolished to make space for it (see further down). During the 1856 earthquake the roof and the dome collapsed and the church stood abandoned for long years. In 1950 the Collegiate Chapter of Birkirkara started restoration and in 1972 it was opened to the public (minus the dome). On the 8th May 2005 it was once again declared a parish church, this time for the area between Valley Road and Mdina Road.

In ruins WWII

Blessed Nazju (Ignatius) Falzon
This is a chapel dedicated to this Maltese Blessed is run by the OFM Franciscan friars on Mannarino Road.

Christus Sacerdos (Christ Priest)
This is the Home for retired clergy that was built by Mgr.Salvatore Grima as a retreat house and a residence for priests, especially elderly clergymen. Mgr.Grima also founded the association, 'Qaddejja tac-Cenaklu' whose members pray for the sanctification of priests and help priests in their needs, especially those residing in the Home for the Clergy. The Chapel is open to the public daily during certain times.

Annunciation
This chapel abutted on the old medieval Assumption parish church and was built before 1575 by Pietro Mifsud. In 1579 Antonio Gilestri offered his services to look after its needs. While in 1601, the confraternity of the Rosary was housed within it, later it was demolished when the new Assumption church was being built.

Annunciation
There was another Annunciation church on the way from B'Kara to Balzan. The heirs of cleric Agostino Borg, during the middle of the 17th century were in charge of it. Public worship in this church was prohibited in 1659 by the Bishop who deemed it unfit and deconsecrated it.

Annunciation / Assumption (Ta' Bettu)
Mons. Dusina's 1575 records also include another Assumption church, which was then already endowed for the celebration of its feast. From 1601 onwards it is referred to as an Annunciation church known as ta' Bettu. It was situated somewhere near St Roque's church and was eventually closed to public worship in 1659.

Annunciation (Ta' Xennu)
Simon Micallef built this church sometime before 1575. It was rebuilt by the heirs of Lorenzo Zammit about 1692 and was demolished later as its site was required for the building of the new parish church of B'Kara. However a side chapel in the parish church duly substituted it.

Assumption / Annunciation (Ta' Sillatu or Tal-Primat)
This church at Gharghar, was built and endowed by Manfredo Sceberas as recorded in the acts of Notary Luca Sillato in 1449 . Its administration passed into the hands of the Carmelite Community of Rabat. On the 8th October 1559 Lorenzo Cassar made a bequest for the celebration of the Annunciation feast in this church. From then on it was referred to, on some occasions, as an Annunciation church. In 1618 Bishop Cagliares closed it to public worship.

Assumption / Nativity of Our Lady (Tal-Herba)
The sanctuary dedicated to the Assumption was built in 1610 in an area where an old church had existed even before the 1565 siege. Sometime before 1644, while retaining this small Marian shrine, another church, dedicated to the Nativity of our Lady, was built in front of its main entrance. The old church known as ' Santa Maria tal-Herba' however had lost much of its importance and during the Pastoral Visit of 1673 was closed to public worship and a few years later was used as a sacristy for the newly built church. In the 1770's its altar, with the facade around the altar piece, were covered in marble while a few years later it was dedicated by Bishop Labini on the 23rd March 1783. Today hardly anything remains of the 1610 church. The image of Our Lady was crowned on the 7th August 1910. Later, in 1849, it was declared a public oratory. Again the church was enlarged on a cruciform plan during the 1920s. Marriages may be held in the sanctuary.

In the 1900s

Chapel
In St.Mary Street in the premises of the male section of M.U.S.E.U.M. catechism group.

Chapel
At the Rivotorto retreat centre run by Franciscan friars. Picture Right......

Nativity of Our Lady
In 1575, Francesco Borg used to look after the needs of this church built in the cemetery of a larger one dedicated to St Leonard. Although decreed unfit for worship in 1618, it remained functioning. In 1658 it was inaccessible, as a quarry had been hewn in front of it. Stones quarried from here were used for the building of the Assumption parish church. It was rebuilt about 1736 and was then known as 'La Rotunda'.

Our Lady of Graces (Has-Sajjied)
This Assumption church mentioned by Mgr.Dusina in 1575, stood somewhere between the old parish church and St.Paul's church, about 172 yards from the former. On the feast of the Assumption, as well as on Corpus Christi, a procession from the parish church used to visit this church, until 1659. Its dedication was changed to Our Lady of Graces in 1636 and was closed to public worship in 1659. Its altarpiece, representing God the Father, Our Lady and St.Catherine, was then definitively described representing Our Lady of Graces. On the closing of the Church, this painting was transferred to the Nativity of Our Lady church, which stood in the same neighbourhood.

Sacred Heart
St Aloysius College was built in 1896-1897 to house Jesuit students. In 1907, through the efforts of Pope St Pius X, the College took the place of the College the English Jesuits had in St Julians, which had been closed. The chapel of the College was built in 1914 and dedicated in 1923. It is open to the public and marriages may be celebrated in it.

St.Alphonse Liguori
In 1896 the Discalced Carmelites opened a friary in Birkirkara valley and dedicated their church and friary to St.Alphonse Liguori as a sign of gratitude to Alphonse Micallef, their benefactor. Finished in 1895, extensions were built in 1904 and 1909. It suffered extensive damage during a storm in 1959. This was the principal Carmelite church in Birkirkara before St.Therese church was built. It is now being used for meetings and perpetual adoration.

St.Anthony & St.Catherine
The church was built in 1571 but was closed by Bishop Balaguer in 1659. Rebuilt in 1828 it is today a centre for the Eucharistic apostolate.

St.Claire
Chapel for 'perpetual' adoration. Run by the CAK it is open from 9.00am to 12.00 noon Mondays to Fridays.

St.Dominic Savio Oratory
The Oratory was built in 1910 and originally the Salesian Fathers ran it. In 1912 the Christian Brothers took over for just three years. In 1923 the Fathers of the Missionary Society of St.Paul took over the running of the Oratory. Marriages may be celebrated in it. The feast of Our Lady Help of Christians is celebrated there. Lately, Fr Martin Cilia added a modern touch to this neglected MSSP oratory building by refurbishing it in a contemporary style and transforming it into a centre for catechism and liturgy for both children and adults where before it was only used for catechizing boys. The innovative centre has also started to offer courses like the seminar on sexuality, something which is attracting lots of people.

St.Francis of Assisi
The Franciscan Conventuals in 1941, opened a small chapel in a villa in Msida Road, for the benefit of the many refugees of WWII from the Harbour area who had settled in Birkirkara. In 1953 they started building the present church and friary and a college for their students. Marriages can be celebrated in the church. A statue of St.Anthony in this church attracts many devotees. Dedication date: 14 October 1963.

St.George
Listed by Mons.Dusina in 1575. Nowadays Lost.

St.Joseph Chapel
According to A Ferres, there used to be a chapel of this dedication attached to a social club in the Birkirkara region in 1866.

St.Joseph Chapel
The Farsons Brewery at Mriehel has its own chapel. Lately, Archbishop Cremona blessed 2 icons to be displayed there. He also concelebrated Mass there with the Pastors of the nearby Birkirkara, Qormi and Sta Venera parishes.

St.Joseph the Worker¬İParish Church
The building of the church dedicated to St.Joseph the Worker started in 1965. In 1969 the church became a subsidiary of the Birkirkara parish and in 1973 it was elevated to the status of a parish church. Dedication date: 26 th May 1992. In the adjoining Parish Centre there is also a Perpetual Adoration Chapel.

St.Mary
There is mention of existence of a medieval church before 1402. It had a curved apse, was dedicated to St.Mary and served as parish church for Birkirkara. Its ruins are still found in the courtyard of a junior Franciscan Parish School at the outskirts of modern Birkirkara.

St.Paul
In 1538 a church was built in an area where, according to tradition, St.Paul had preached. It was rebuilt in 1852-4. It has an interesting clock that chimes the Angelus.

St.Roque
The first church here was built in 1593, but Bishop Balaguer closed it in 1659. It was rebuilt after the 1676 plague and again in 1863. Nowadays St.Rita of Cascia¬İis also venerated in this church.

St.Therese of the Child Jesus Sanctuary
In 1965 the discalced Carmelites started building St.Therese Sanctuary, which was inaugurated in 1982 and solemnly dedicated in 1997. Marriages may be celebrated in the Sanctuary. Dedication date: 9th July 1997. Attached to this church is the Holy Sacrament Chapel with a separate entrance, for perpetual adoration.

Servants of the Upper Room Chapel
Right beside Christus Sacerdos chapel for retired clergy.

Visitation
According to A Ferres there was a church of this dedication existing in Birkirkara in 1780 but not in 1866.