An invitation for a synodal journey 2020-2024

One Church, One Journey invites all the People of God in Malta to a process for ecclesial renewal that can grow organically. The process is to be taken as a synodal “journey”—following the same synodal method of the Maltese Diocesan Synod 1999–2003—spanning not only space and time, but introducing us progressively to the complex reality in which we are living and, thus, ever deeper into the challenge of becoming “a pilgrim people”. Hence, every step indicates the same number of points which open us to reflection: from the first unequivocal step, to the eighth step which is being presented as the eight ways through which we can truly become a Church that discerns; a Church who, like an orchestra, can perform harmonious music through diverse instruments since it is directed by the same Holy Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit is the power, hidden in our hearts, who unites us and emboldens us to tread, even in the deepest darkness, through all challenges, to heal and sustain one another and those entrusted to us in our land. He lights every step of the way; He is the fire that never dies away; through Him we “wear Christ,” embodying Him. Just as our Master bestowed tenderness to all those he encountered, so we gaze at those who cross our path.

Thus, inspired by Christ’s encounter with his disciples on the road to Emmaus, and while remembering the birth of the Maltese Church by showing “unusual kindness” (Acts 28:2), we will continue to drink of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be renewed as God’s Holy People in this land.

Each of our local communities will continue the journey of communal discernment to listen, welcome, accompany and go forth in concrete ways in our local “field hospital” where Christ desires to meet all men, women and children who are suffering through “his body and bride,” the Church.

Through studying the eight‑fold process presented at the Diocesan Assembly 2019, in the next four years:

  • every home and small community who gathers in Christ’s name,  
  • every lay movement,
  • every religious congregation,
  • every ecclesial institution that serves society—especially the many Church schools and institutions of diakonia—and
  • every parish,

will seek to be attuned more faithfully to its particular gifts and charisms of the Holy Spirit and to discern the call to do greater things in Christ’s name:  

  • by listening to his Word andgrowing in our contemplation of the divine expressed in our prayer and communal worship; from this wellspring of Life, we can open our hearts to truly listen to one another and to the signs of the times;
  • by welcoming strangers in our midst, and thus seeking concrete acts of healing and reconciliation especially in service to the most vulnerable;
  • by accompanying one another to actuate concrete reforms in the process of Christian life‑long formation and personal and communal integration;
  • by being sent forth and thus discerning the concrete ways in which we are called to evangelise and witness God’s salvific mercy through concrete acts of service.

In the context of our witnessing as a Church, we recognise the value of powerful gestures that are prophetic signs of truth, justice, healing and reconciliation. Gestures speak not only in a way that moves, but in a way that exposes structural sin, that challenges deeper reflection and that proposes discernment for a way forward that conforms more transparently to the Good News.

As disciples of Christ, we must also emulate the Master, who

  • Chose to save through obedience: hence we must choose God’s will and his glory and are not tempted to desire our own glory, to serve our self‑aggrandizement, or to instil rivalry and divisions because of our hardened heart;
  • Chose to save by becoming poor: hence the importance of a dignified elegance, of a sense of measure in an otherwise consumerist world, of a beauty that attracts simply without ostentatious display;
  • Chose to save by relating with friends: hence the central importance of relationships, characterised by a disinterested love, each according to his/her state;
  • Chose to save by living in the world, by touching its wounds and by taking on ‘the smell of his sheep’: hence the call to become one with the complex realities of the world and to become light, salt and leaven—a sign of true hope for our land.