They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem. (Lk 24: 32‑33a)
The Maltese people have been blessed with receiving the salvific Word from the Apostle himself and of living it in acts of faithful and generous service. Acts 28 testifies to our kind hospitality to Paul and the other captives and soldiers who survived the storm. Our ancestors were not only among the first to receive the Gospel: they lived it by offering refuge to the stranger. And, notwithstanding our turbulent history, we also sought to continue the tradition through the centuries, in particular by tending the sick and healing the wounded who come to our shores, a service epitomised by the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John and Jerusalem (The Order of Malta).
Today, we are challenged to carry on supporting migrants who risk their lives in our waters or who seek a new life in our land. We continue to care for the sick, for the poor, for those who feel broken by life among us.
Above all, we are called to place the safeguarding of human life and human dignity at the centre of our proclamation and service.
Our Church continues to bear fruit through these spiritual wellsprings of Evangelisation and Diakonia
In the last century, the wellsprings of Evangelisation and Diakonia overflowed as St Ġorġ Preca nurtured a spirituality of catechesis that enriched our parishes and, increasingly, other nations. Likewise, much of the post‑Conciliar renewal of the local Church has been nurtured through praying with the Word in many new lay movements. Monsignor Giuseppe De Piro and others established religious orders of men and women missionaries who seek to serve brothers and sisters wherever the Spirit sends them. Monsignor Mikiel Azzopardi founded id‑Dar tal‑Providenza that continues to serve the most cherished of our children through the kindness of the Maltese people.
To this very day, the Maltese Church, in collaboration with the Maltese State, continues to support the neediest: whether in homes for the elderly, in caring for the dying, in raising children who originate from difficult backgrounds, in helping those with material needs or problems with addiction, those who suffered domestic abuse, or those who are seeking to rebuild a home as migrants and refugees.
The Word proclaimed bearing fruit in the concrete acts of mercy of our people, can also be read in our very landscape shaped over the centuries.
Religious monuments tell the story of salvation and celebrate the glory of God in stone, art and national treasures. Much of our religious heritage, recalls our special prayers to Mary, Mother of God, who interceded for us to experience God’s grace in moments of extreme hardship—of illness and death, of hunger and poverty, of siege and war. Innumerable times in our long history, when our forebears trusted that only God could sustain them in moments of trial, Word and Charity, Evangelisation and Diakonia were the two hands that built our Church as, in turn, it raised her arms in Thanksgiving and worship.
Today, Malta might not be experiencing the ravages of extreme famine, plague or strife. Nonetheless, our people’s soul seems weary because of indifference; perplexed by rapid cultural change; exhausted through the pace of our new lifestyles; burdened by silent suffering. Our psychological wounds seem as perilous as the physical wounds of the “field hospital after battlefield.” It is just as critical that they are urgently sutured and nursed.
As the local Christian community yearns to taste again the transformative power of the encounter with Christ, and as it seeks to nurture its weary spirit through his Word and to be reformed through imitating his self‑emptying love, we must not only read the signs of the times, but remember who we were called to be as the one Holy People of God on this island.
Only thus can the Church be missioned anew in today’s socio‑political reality.