Churches & Chapels
Annunciation Parish Church
St. Augustine Church
St. Mary's Chapel (Tar-Rokna)
In the upper part of Hal Tarxien, in St Mary Street, one finds a small but very sweet church called St Mary of the Corner. This is one of the oldest churches and has a wonderful face, flanked by two bell towers, a matching statue of the Assumption in front of a small dome. It is said that when built, in 1909, the facade of this church had cost 86 Maltese pounds. In one of the belfries one finds three small bells. The shape of the church is in the form of a dome and was built between 1729 and 1737. This church was built long before the present parish church. In fact in the report compiled by Bishop Cagliares we find that this church was built around 1415 and expenses were paid by a certain Duminka, widow of Gentile Azzopardi, at the time of Bishop Antonio di Platamone.
The interior is adorned by two altars and the main painting of the Assumption, is surrounded by sculpture. It was painted by Rokku Buhagiar in 1771. On the only other altar, besides the main altar, there is another painting depicting Our Lady of the Rosary with Child and with images of St. Dominic and St. Catherine. This painting hung in the parish church before 1770. In olden times this church was adorned with numerous less artistic ex voto paintings, but of great historic value. Among these there are only two ex voto items that are testimony to the devotion our ancestors had, especially seafaring people, towards the blessed Virgin of the Assumption. Fr Francis Penza, who for some time was the curator of this church, in 1909 decorated this church with new bell towers and with a statue of the Blessed Virgin by Francesco Faure`. Moreover, Fr Francis had bequitted to this church a box containing a beautiful and artistic ivory Crucifix with the coat of arms of the Penza family. One of the most generous benefactors of this church, Lorenzo Bugeja, who died on 19 March 1800, is buried at the centre of this church. As at present, this church was always well maintained, and is still annually decorated during the feast of the Assumption on 15 August.
The Church of St Bartholomew and Our Lady of Good Council
The laying of the first stone of the church dedicated to St. Bartholomew and Our Lady of Good Counsel was held in 1764. Rev Bert Mangion, a dedicated priest from Hal Tarxien, a few days before he died, on 2 August 1759 at the age of 54 years, in his will in front of Notary Peter Antonio Madiona, left instructions to have a small church built in Hal Tarxien. This church was dedicated to St. Bartholomew, the saint whose name, Fr Bert was named after, and also to Our Lady of Good Counsel. Although tiny in size this church is a gem of architecture, with works by Maltese architect Giuseppe Bonnici (1707-1779). When building this church, a large house was build adjacent to it to serve as a residence to the chaplain, and is still used as a parish house even today. The construction of this church lasted 12 years as there was a disagreement with the Inquisitor of the time. On 10th of March 1776, the then Parish Priest Fr John Psaila (1768-1799), acting as a delegate of Lieutenant Mgr. Grech, blessed this church. Later he officiated the first mass with prayers composed by the same Father Psaila who was chaplain to Bishop Vincenzo Labini (1780-1807), was hailed from Naples - Italy. The Church was consecrated by Bishop Labini on 30 April 1797.
The first feast was celebrated in the church on 23rd August 1776 by the parish priest of Ħal Tarxien, Rev John Psaila. The main altar, showing St. Bartholomew Apostle and named after Our Lady of Good Consul, was constructed in baroque style by one of the most renowned Maltese painters of the late 18th century, Rokku Buhagiar (1725 -1805). Moreover, this church, both on the outside and the inside, is decorated with intricate sculpture. The design is cute with large pillars and its frame rising over to the dome and enclosing the lantern. Rev Bert Mangion is found buried in the church of San Bert and his body was brought over from the Parish Church of Tarxien on 14 March 1776, by procession accompanied by the clergy and the people of Ħal Tarxien. At present this church is very well maintained and in August the feast in honour of St. Bartholomew is celebrated.
The Church of St. Joseph
Fr Francis Caruana, who later was nominated canon, used to help the African missionaries during their time in Malta and used to host them in his Tarxien home until 1896 when they went back to Algeria. Father Francis, built a new house in Tarxien Road and alongside the house he erected a small church dedicatd to St. Joseph. This church has a bell tower on one side and also a sacristy. On the outside, at the front of the church there is a beautiful statue of St. Joseph sculpted out of Maltese stone by sculptor Vincenzo Bonnici who was from Senglea. On the altar of this church there was a painting of the Holy Family, made by painter Guze Bonnici (1834-1900). Today this painting is found at the convent of the Sisters of Charity in Birżebbuġa. The painting was replaced by one of Our Lady of Lourdes, when the Holy Virgin was decreed as Immaculate. After the death of Fr Francis Caruana, on the 5th of November 1895 at the age of 72 years, the Fathers of Cardinal Lavigerie took possession of the chapel of St. Joseph along with the property around it. Later, in 1902, this chapel along with other buildings was left to the Sisters of Charity of St Antide Thouret, under the auspices of St. Vincent de Paul, and was also dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.
The Church/Chapel at the Cemetery of All Souls
In this cemetery there was a small chapel built in 1754, but due to the increase in population in the 1960s, it was felt that the chapel was too small to serve the needs of the faithful. The painting that was found in this chapel, representing the Madonna with Souls, work attributed to Francesco Faure '(1849-1915) who though from nearby Zejtun, lived for quite a long time at Hal Tarxien. The sculpted columns that were found in this chapel, were moved to the Parish Church by Father Francis Attard and architect Michele Busuttil. Initially it was decided to have them moved to the parish church to be cleaned and strengthened. This was done after 1890, when a lightning struck and destroyed the church lantern. In 1954, after the death of Can. Fr Joseph Gonzi, who was curator of this cemetery, its care was entrusted to Rector Fr Joseph Theuma. During the pastoral visit of Mons. Archbishop Michael Gonzi in the parish of Tarxien in 1962, it was decided to have this neighbourhood elevated to a parish to serve better the pastoral needs of the people of the area.
In 1963 Fr Joseph obtained the necessary land and commissioned architect Valerio Vigorelli to assist in drawing up new plans of this church and a new cemetery next to the Neolithic Temples. On 13 December 1964, before two honourable witnesses, mainly Minister Dr Carmelo Caruana and physician James Farrugia, HE Mgr. Archbishop Michael Gonzi laid the first stone of the Church in the Cemetery of All Souls. The stone mason of the church was Mr Joseph Vella from Gozo and the monitoring of the structural work on the church and the extension of the Cemetery were entrusted to architect Italo Raniolo. The church is built on a modern style with a length of a 100 feet while the width is 60 feet. The design of the new altar was made and prepared by Mgr. Valerio Vigorelli while the work of the altar table was made by the firm Alberghina from Caltagirone. The altar table is made of marble with the artwork of the evangelists sculpted in Maltese stone by made by sculptor Marco Montebello and installed by his son John. On Friday 27 November 1987 Mgr. Archbishop Joseph Mercieca blessed the new church and its single altar. This church was consecrated on 13 December 2002.
The Church of St. Nicholas of Tolentino
One of our secondary Churches in the parish, is that of the Order of the Augustinians, dedicated to St. Nicholas of Tolentino, whose feast is celebrated every year on 10 September. On 18 February 1936, the Provincial Father Lawrence Agius, Augustinian, applied to the then Archbishop to open a chapel to serve the spiritual needs of people of the area, along with the building of a religious home. This request was accepted by the Archbishop of Malta on 6 May of that same year. During the war, the Oratory of St Aloysius, the building also known as the Augustinian Priory, served as a shetler against the air raids and after the end of the war it was turned into a government secondary school for girls. The Augustinian mission started in Tarxien on 1 February 1948 after which, the Director of Education gave his permission to transform the hall into a public chapel and also living quarters for the monks. The solemn blessing and the inauguration of the chapel took place on Sunday 1 February 1948, and the chapel was dedicated to St. Nicholas of Tolentino. As the turnout of the faithful continued to increase, after years of labour and sacrifices, and to the satisfaction of everyone, on 23 April 1967, the first stone of the new church was laid. The consecration of the Church was held by Archbishop Mgr. Michael Gonzi on the 10th of May 1975.