Parish priests in Malta recently convened for their annual live-in event, themed “an outgoing Church,” aligning with the ecclesial renewal process of the Church in Malta under the banner of “one Church, one journey.”

The focus of this gathering was to explore ways of being a vibrant presence in the community while sharing the Gospel’s joy.

Throughout the event, various speakers discussed their experiences addressing different societal challenges and emphasised the pivotal role parishes can play in positively impacting people’s lives.

Topics ranged from poverty, homelessness, and prostitution to issues like loneliness, money management, parenting, technology overuse, and overall living conditions. Participants shared insights on how their parishes actively engage, welcome, and support individuals on the fringes of society.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna expressed gratitude to parish priests across Malta for their continuous dedication to their communities. He acknowledged the ongoing thirst for the priestly presence in Maltese society and urged priests to extend their care beyond the Church’s immediate circles to those on the periphery.

A significant portion of the live-in centred on the pastoral work with young people. Speakers Benjamin Flores Martin from MCYN and Clive Bonnici from PRISMS addressed the challenges tied to language, culture, and mentality, encouraging parish priests not to be discouraged when accompanying young individuals.

Fr Jimmy Bonnici and Fr Frankie Cini MSSP guided priests in reflecting on their vocations and priestly missions within an ever-changing society. They underscored the importance of service, the Parish Priest’s presence among God’s people, and the role of acting as the “salt” that enhances the parish’s essence.

This year’s guest speakers included Rev. Prof. Mark Sultana, Albert Debono from the Diaconia Parishes Section, YMCA Chief Executive Anthony Camilleri, Tracy Vella from Fondazzjoni Suret il-Bniedem, Maria Borg Pellicano from Dar Hosea, and Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing Prof. Andrew Azzopardi.

Organised by the Council of the College of Parish Priests, the live-in took place from January 9 to 11, 2024, at the Archbishop’s Seminary in Tal-Virtù.

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