Rural Development Programme for Malta 2007 – 2013
Axis 3 – Improving the Quality of Life in Rural Areas
Project Part-financed by the European Union
The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development
Co-financing Rate: 75% European Union, 25%
Government of Malta
Europe Investing in Rural Areas
Rev. Alfons Caruana and Mentna Area
Rev. Alfons Caruana was elected from the 9th electoral District with 150 votes, as an independent candidate. Although this district comprised from the villages of Zejtun, Paola, Ghaxaq, Tarxien, Gudja, Kirkop, Safi, Qrendi and Zurrieq, ironically excluded the village of Mqabba being the 8th District. The election took place on the 26th and 27th August, 1895. The Mqabba Rev. Caruana was considered to be supporting the English Government whereas the rival party of Sigismondo Savona was distancing itself from the Crown. Paolo Caruana was the opponing political figure for Rev. Alfons who came fromAlgiers with the sole idea of being elected in the Government Council.
He fulfilled his dreams and pocketed £25 per month from the English Government. However this rivalry manifested itself with intense antagonism over a piece of land between the villages of Mqabba and Qrendi – Mentna area. Back in 1775 the Immaculate Conception Confraternity to commemorate the aggregation with Roman Confraternity of San Lorenzo di Damaso, erected a stone cross and a statue of the Immaculate Conception in this part of Mqabba. But Rev. Alfons Caruana’s plans were quite different. He removed the stone cross and relocated the statue in a bid to transform this place in a garden for recreation purposes. This was resisted by the members of the Immaculate Conception Confraternity who sent a petition to the Government opposing the project that was even signed by his fellow colleagues, amongst whom was the Archpriest Rev. Calcedonio Schembri. A similar protest was submitted by the villagers of Qrendi as Mentna was between the two parrocchial boundaries. Rev. Alfons Caruana challenged by pushing further his plans on commissioning another statue of St. Francis in the now Diamond Jubilee Square; renaming the area in honour of Queen Victoria on her 60 year rein. Prof Giulio Moschetti’s work of art was blessed by Rev. Caruana on the 14th July 1899 and a request made to Archbishop Monsignor Pietro Pace for 40 days indulgence was granted. Later on that year a feast in honour of St. Francis was celebrated for the first time with pomp. A band from Siggiewi played in the open air and ground fireworks were also let off.
George Cassar; Sigismondo Savona: personalita’ ta’ statura nazzjonali u l-konnessjonijiet tal-politika tieghu mal-Imqabba; Charles J. Farrugia (ed); Sicut Lilium, Devozzjoni u Ritwali tul is-Sekli; 2012, p271-2.