Churches

Parrochial Sanctuary of Our Lady of Perpetual Soccour and Pope St. Gregory the Great
 
Ta' Kercem evolved into a village community in the late middle ages, around an ancient chapel dedicated to Pope St. Gregory the Great built around 1581, in Xuxa Street, and in the vicinity of Lunzjata Valley. The site gained historical importance due to the annual traditional St. Gregory procession from the Matrix church in Rabat to this medieval chapel, upon the saint's feast, namely on the 12th of March.
 
Due to the growing population, there was the need of building a larger and more central church. The architect for this new church was Can. Salvatore Bondi’. Frangisk and his wife Rosa Camilleri were the benefactors of this new church. The foundation stone was laid on the 12th March 1846 during the feast of Pope St. Gregory the Great, by the Pro Vicar Can. Mikiel Cassar.
 
The building was completed by 1851, and on the 23rd November of the same year, the church was blessed by the Pro-Vicar Dun Tumas Pace. Prior to this, and during a visit by Bishop Publius Maria Sant on 1st September 1848, Kerċem was erected as a Vice Parish, with Dun Guzepp Cachia taking care of the spiritual life of the community as a Vicar.
 
Ta' Kercem became a distinct parish on 10th March 1885 by Bishop Pietru Pace. The first parish priest was Dun Guzepp Vella, installed on the 30th June 1885.
 
The Ta' Kercem parish church is the only Gozitan church, which is jointly dedicated to two saints. It was traditionally dedicated to Pope St. Gregory, but since 17th August 1885, the church was additionally co-dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The titular feast of St. Gregory the Great is celebrated on the second weekend of March, while that of Our Lady of Perpetual Help falls on the second weekend of July.
 
Between 1906 and 1910 the parish church was enlarged to its present state. On the 22nd October 1911 it was consecrated by Bishop Giovanni Maria Camilleri. The church boosts various works of art. Amongst them the main altarpiece by Salvatore Busuttil in 1854, and depicting St Gregory interceding with the Virgin for the Plague-stricken. The two titular statues of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Pope St. Gregory the Great were commissioned to the renowned firm “Galard et Fils” of Marseilles in France in 1897 and 1904 respectively. Between 1937 and 1943, Professor Giuseppe Briffa painted the whole ceiling of the parish church, depicting the life of St. Gregory the Great.
 
The parish of Ta' Kercem nowadays is more organised, with several organisations and groups namely: Confraternity of Our Lady of the Rosary, Confraternity of the Holy Sacrament and Piccolo Clero (1885), “Pia Unione” (1886), “Figlie di Maria” and the Catholic Action (1933), Legion of Mary (1953), Carmelite Sisters (1957), MUSEUM (1963), St. Gregory Choir (1973), Għaqda Armar Madonna tas-Sokkors (1991), Terzjarji Karmelitani (1993), and Għaqda Mużikali San Girgor (1997).
 
To commemorate the first century from the erection of the Parish of Ta' Kercem, and on an initiative of the Parish Priest Mgr. Frances Debrincat, the main altarpiece was decorated by a gold crown by Bishop Mgr. Nicholas G. Cauchi. Big festivities occur during 1997 on the first century from the arrival of the titular statue of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. In 2004 the Parish commemorated the 1,400 years anniversary from the death of Pope St. Gregory the Great and the first century of the arrival of the titular statue of the Saint. On all occasions three Cardinals were present in Ta' Kercem. These festivities helped a lot in the popularity of the Ta' Kercem festas.