At the Diocesan Assembly of November 2018, when the local Church reflected on our present ecclesial reality by looking back at the outcome of the 2003 Documents of the Diocesan Synod, Archbishop Charles Jude Scicluna proposed the Lukan post‑resurrection narrative of the disciples of Emmaus (Lk 24:13‑36) to inspire a process of ecclesial discernment towards pastoral reform.
The following year, a draft document of this “process,” a method of reflection divided in eight steps, was presented at the Diocesan Assembly of 2019. Its intent was that, eventually, it would guide every entity in the Church in the same process towards communal discernment. The document evolved over months through many encounters with constituents in the Church that offered a snapshot of the spiritual reality of the local Church. Hence, it was also moulded with the specific intent of eliciting growth in attitudes and practices that require special attention among the People of God in Malta
The Diocesan Assembly of 2019 was in itself an important step in this ecclesial discernment as those present—representatives of all sectors in the Archdiocese—prayed, reflected and conversed together on the process, taking their insights to the whole Assembly.
These insights, together with many others that were shared by persons and groups between November 2019 and February 2020, were collated, reflected upon, and in these past months—especially in light of this experience of COVID-19—were distilled as the concrete pastoral initiatives that the Archdiocese commits itself to implement in these next years.
These commitments are also being presented on this website to model to all other entities in the Church how the eightfold process of ecclesial reform leads from spiritual renewal to pastoral action. All parishes, schools, religious congregations, lay movements, ministries of service, and every other Catholic entity in Malta are being invited to participate, in their own unique way, in this process of ecclesial discernment towards pastoral reform. Thus, ecclesial renewal will flourish organically, in all sectors of the Church, not because it is imposed from above, but as it unfolds in many pockets.
This process will be truly ecclesial, rebirthing us as “One Church, One Journey,” because led by the one Spirit, who is Life and always promises to give us life in abundance. It is only in the Spirit that the Church is purified and that we become true missionary disciples of Christ in our land. The same Spirit emboldens us to remain committed on a journey that demands resilience and creativity that God’s Kingdom may be truly manifested in our midst.
The Bishops’ decision to offer to the local Church a “process of ecclesial renewal” is also in light of Pope Francis’ insistence that the Church must initiate life-giving processes in a spirit of discernment and constant dialogue.
Thus, in light of this new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Archdiocese is formally initiating this “Process for Ecclesial Renewal,” so, even in these dark times, we continue writing the story of our local Church that began when St. Paul, the Apostle himself, was welcomed on our shores. This “Process for Ecclesial Renewal,” is both a vision of the Church we hope to be, and the concrete steps for our renewal—each community in its own unique way—but that, as we share in the same Spirit, truly makes us one pilgrim people, “One Church, One Journey,” in Malta.