Arch-Confraternity of the Holy Cross

The Confraternity of the Blessed Crucifix was founded in the Senglea Parish in 1751, and was installed on the altar dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows. As its forerunner, the Confraternity of Our Lady of Charity, it had two principal aims: first that of fostering the devotion towards the mysteries of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and second that of burying, at its own expenses and in graves which it possessed, the poor of the parish. In the former instance, it carried the onus of organising a procession with the statues representing episodes from the Passion of Christ every Good Friday.

Immediately taking over from the Confraternity of Our Lady of Charity, the new members embarked on two audacious projects. In 1725, they commissioned the Sicilian artist Corrado Giaquinto to paint a new canvas for their altar, portraying Our Lady holding on her lap the dead body of her Son, Jesus, just after being taken down from the Cross. Then, in 1727, they started planning to build an Oratory adjacent to the Parish Church, wherein they could carry out the obligations imposed by the statue of the Confraternity.

For its charitable acts and social undertakings, the Confraternity attracted towards it renowned personalities. Suffice it to say, that Grand Master Emmanuel Pinto not only was a member, but for nine years, he was elected its' Rector. It further gained in stature and importance, when, after being affiliated to the Arch-Confraternity of the Blessed Crucifix founded in the Basilica of San Marcello in Rome, in 1773, was itself elevated to that title. Later still, in 1814, it was entrusted with the day to day administration of a newly-founded home for sick and aged women who had no one to care for them, set-up in a large house in Senglea thereafter named Ospizio Sant' Anna.

The Confraternity persevered in its' duty of fostering the devotion towards the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, hence its' uninterrupted endeavour to organise the Passion procession every Good Friday. Towards the benefits of this procession, the Confraternity did its' part, not only by taking all due care of the eight statues which form part of the procession, but also by the assiduous participation of its members, whilst at the same time, exhorting more parishioners to partake in this manifestation. Towards this aim, as well, the Confraternity, for long years, used to hold a procession in veneration of the Holy Cross every 3rd of May. Its principal contribution today, is the spreading further of the ages-long devotion towards the sacred image of Jesus the Redeemer, venerated all year round in the Confraternity's Oratory.

Even with all the changes brought about by this day and age, the Confraternity has somehow managed to survive, and continues to help in the running of the Parish up till the present day.


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