Friars Minor Conventual established themselves in St. Paul's Bay, exactly
at the heart of the old village in 1904. They were entrusted to look after
the newly built Church, which was to become the parish Church of the
Feeling the pastoral need of the locality the Archbishop granted permission to the Marquise Anna Bugeja to built a new Church to mark the beginning of the new century. Both the Church and the friary were build and later she donated them to the Friars of the Order of Franciscans Conventual.
On October 12th 1904, the Most Reverend Domenic Reuter was elected Minister General of the Order, and on December 9th, he granted permission to accept the responsibility of the new parish Church offered to the friars by the Archbishop of Malta.
The friary was built between 1968-1975. The community at the time was made up of the Very Reverend Friars Samuel Chetcuti Felix Sammut, Ugolino Xerri, Marius Galea, Emanuel Gatt and Ludwig Busuttil. With these there were five students George Attard, Anthony Vella, Joe Cilia, Joe Bugeja and Carmel Cacopardo.
At the beginning of the twentieth century a noble widowed lady: the Marquise Anna Bugeja sought permission from the Holy See to build a Church for the service of the residents, because the existing one was not sufficient to cope with the needs of the time. It was esteemed that in 1901 there were 185 inhabitants, in 1911: 1032, in 1921: 1685, in l961: 3323, and in 1985 we find 4465 inhabitants. We can also note that in 1971 the parish of Burmarrad was erected, and in 1976 Manicata. Both enacted from St. Paul's Bay Parish Church. In the offing is another one at Qawra/Bugibba.
On September 28, 1904 a deed of donation was signed between the Marquise Anna Bugeja and the V. R. Fr. Bonaventure Zahra OFM Conv. in front of the notary Carlo Micallef De Caro at the Marquise residence in Valletta.
"After reaching an agreement with the Most Reverend Parish Priests of Mellieha and Naxxar, under whose responsibility fell the Cura Animarum, We, with the power given us according to the Canon Law, we define with this decree, issued today... that the territory of St. Paul's Bay will be erected as a New and distinct Parish Church"... 9th April 1905, signed by H. E. Mons Pietro Pace Archbishop of Malta.
The friars are mainly in service of the Parish Church. They are also sought for preaching, conferences and lead various religious groups: such as the Charismatic and the Neo-Catechumenal. Several friars give conferences abroad.
St. Francis Friary