New marble works have been inaugurated in the Presbytery of the Birżebbuġa Parish Church, among them an altar table that was consecrated by Archbishop Charles Scicluna who said the rite being carried out was not solely for the parish but for the whole country to return to God’s table where the Lord transfers the fruits of the earth and the work of humanity into the body and blood of his son. The Archbishop delivered a special greeting to those who are vulnerable and who have been deprived from receiving the Eucharist for many months or attending Holy Mass during the pandemic except through media means.
For sculptor Ronnie Pisani, the COVID pandemic has meant locking himself in his workshop studio where he worked on and completed the transformation of the Presbytery of the St Peter in Chains parish of Birżebbuga. On a design by architect Michael Sciberras he sculpted the marble altar, the ambone for the preaching of the Word of God as well as the seating for Mass celebrants.
He said the material used was bianco di carrara and bianco di arrabescato, in neo-classic style that integrates well with the general church style.
Pisani said all the work carried out was done by hand and resembles the main altar that was installed 50 years. The altar alone weighs two tons.
His son Aaron helps his father in the marble works and said the project had particular challenges because it was so bulky he could not near his father. He said acquiring the necessary tools and materials from shops was also difficult because of shop closures.
Parish Priest Fr Anton Galea Scannura said the project had long been in the parish plans to be carried out. The altar will aid the celebration of the Eucharist in a more dignified, more beautiful and in a better manner.
According to the rite, the altar was doused with holy oil and reliques of San Ġorġ Preca and the Beati Nazju Falzon and Maria Adeodata Pisani were placed.