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Chapel of The Immaculate Conception

Over the years the chapel found many benefactors and thanks to them it started to be kept in a very good state. Among them is Dionisius Famucelli, procurator of the chapel and who with his own money had built a sacristy, a parapet and some other rooms.

Another benefactor was the Ballius of the Order of St. John, Fra. Wolfgang Philip Guttenberg where with his own money he decorated the chapel with many beautiful works, including a sculpture and laurel in stone, gilded frames for paintings and niches with glass. He had also taken care to leave a bequest for masses every Sunday and on holidays. In fact, in the church we find a plaque dated on September 30 1731 to commemorate this event.

In 1835, the chapel became a vice-parish and this is because a large number of people from other places moved to the area of ​​Msida and with them the spiritual needs increased. Because of this, in 1859 the chapel had to be enlarged and a new sacristy was also built with it. The total cost came to about 3,000 scudi. It is also worth saying that in those years the chapel was a sacramental one, that is, in which the Sacrament was kept all the time. The chapel lasted as a vice-parish until 1867 when during that year Bishop Gaetano Pace Forno elevated Msida to the parish.

Although the chapel was enlarged, the problem of humidity remained there with the consequence that the chapel continued to suffer more damage to its structure. In 1907, the chapel had to be closed until the necessary works were carried out on the outside and on the inside. In 1911 Reverend Salvu Caruana, parish priest of Msida wrote to the Vatican to inform them of the bad state in which the chapel was in and that it could no longer be used due to the danger. He had also told them that the cost of the restoration would cost a little less than fifty Maltese Lira. The chapel was closed for several years until in 1916 the 1st Auxiliary Bishop, Father Angelo Portelli, started working so that this chapel would be restored and reopened to the people of the area.

He had even made an appeal in local newspapers about the bad state of the chapel and was therefore asking for all possible help. He also made a personal guarantee for everything that was being collected and what it was being spent on. This appeal was well received and offers began to arrive from all over the island. The necessary work was done and the chapel that was loved by all was reopened. In 1949, some other necessary works were carried out, including the restoration of a number of paintings. New wooden benches were also made and in 1953 a new Via Sagra was made.

More recently, exactly in 1984, the work of changing some walls of the chapel aisle was started and a new belfry was also built for the two bells. In 1974, the stone statue opposite the chapel was also changed.

Credit: ‘Il-Kappella tal-Kunċizzjoni tal-Imsida’ – Ivan Bugeja (in Maltese)