Churches in Sliema

As Malta is considered to be a Catholic country, one finds several churches scattered throughout the Island.

Stella Maris Church

On 28th April 1855, the foundation stone of Stella Maris Church was first laid on a piece of land donated by the Cathedral Chapter. The Church first opened for worship on the 11th August, 1855 after several contributions donated towards its building. It included three altars, and did not have today’s side chapels. In 1873, a plot of land adjacent to the church was donated, and a further 3000 skudi (old Maltese currency) was donated in 1875. Following authorisation from Bishop Carmelo Conti Scicluna in 1876, and several more donations from the Sliema residents, the Church was enlarged and completed by the end of 1877. The old façade was retained whereas a large dome, two side chapels the choir and the sacristy were added on.

As Sliema continued to expand, several felt that Sliema needed to be recognised as a village separate from Birkirkara. As a result of this, on the 25th December 1878, the Church authorities authorised the separation of Sliema from the Birkirkara parish boundaries – making the Church of Stella Maris the Parish Church of Sliema with boundaries reaching as far as Msida and St Julian’s.

St Patrick’s Church

St Patrick’s Church is a Roman Catholic Church run by the Salesians of Don Bosco – who arrived in Malta in 1903. The Church was built along with the school, aiming to serve as a home and school – caring and educating several young Maltese who are poor, abandoned or in danger. Both are funded mainly by the Maltese government but have also received donations from the Maltese throughout the years. The school has a population of 80 boys, of which 30 are also residents, and ensure that no more than 15 students are assigned per class in order to provide each student with individual attention. Aside from preparing their students for Matsec and ECDL exams, a lot of emphasis is placed on non-examinable qualities – such as respect, spirituality etc.

Sacred Heart

The Church of our Lady of the Sacred Heart was built on the initiative of Fr Paul Vella in 1872. It was built in a Roman-Ionic style, with the dome, ceiling and altar all adorned with paintings. The Statue of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart was made seven years later, in 1879, by Girolamo Darmanin. However, it was only on the 26th June 1881 – two years later – that the statue was finally carried into the Church, on the same day that the church opened its doors to the public for worship. In November 1881, the Church was handed over to the Maltese Province of the Friars Minor, and became a Parish Church in 1918. Due to the ever-increasing population of Sliema, the Church was expanded in 1930.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

At Balluta Bay, in St. Julians, since 1859 there was a church dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, built by the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel of Valletta; the church was rebuilt in 1877 and given to the Carmelite friars who rebuilt it in 1900. In 1958 it was rebuilt again and in 1974 it became the parish church of the locality. The parish population is that of 4500 and number of families it serves is 1, 500.