January marks the beginning of a new year. This is a time when people meet and exchange greetings. On the 5 January the Seminary hosted a gathering where members of the clergy and seminarians met Mgr Bishop Mario Grech and exchanged greetings.
The meeting started with a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the blessings bestowed upon the Church of Gozo along the year 2012. Then, on behalf of those present, Mgr Rosario Borg, (who stood in for Mgr Giovanni Bosco Gauci, the General Vicar), thanked Mgr Bishop Grech for his pastoral work in the diocese during the year 2012 and wished him a happy new year.
Mgr Bishop Grech delivered a short talk for the occasion. He said that in the past the Church “made history”. Even in our times the Church has to continue this mission. Like Mary, the Church is called to offer to society the “new wine”, that is Jesus Christ.
This was the theme discussed in the Bishops’ Synod held in October 2012 and which Mgr Grech attended. The theme was the New Evangelization. The Bishop said that during the Synod the element of “collegiality” within the Church was evident. This element needs to be more centralised. He said that collegiality includes also the need for more lay people to be entrusted with pastoral responsibilities. In this way the Church will no longer be clerical.
“The Synod was a Christological symphony.” The Holy Trinity and the figure of Jesus Christ in particular, was the centre of every discussion. In fact, the mission of the Church is to preach Jesus Christ to mankind. To do so, we have to follow the example of the early Church. Before starting its mission, the early Church gathered and waited in prayer since it knew that it was only God himself who could create his Church. For this reason, “the new evangelisation requires preachers who are spiritually renewed”.
Before preaching Christ, the preacher has to stop to listen to the Word. For this reason, the new evangelisation is, above all, not a question of applying new “methods” for the proclamation of the Bible, but is a call for the need of the same preacher to strengthen his faith in Christ and place the Christological kérygma in the centre of his evangelisation. It is this faith that will make him a missionary: since faith without apostleship is a dead faith!
Mgr Bishop Grech added that the new evangelisation is needed also because of the social and cultural scenario that is ever-changing and making new claims. In this culture there exist new spaces that need the light of Christ. We cannot be indifferent to the need of filling these spaces with this light. According to the Vatican II Council, the Christian, Catholic and Apostolic spirit in the whole world is looking forward to a more profound doctrine and a more mature formation of the conscience. Mgr Grech said that this applies particularly to priests.
It is only in this way that priests can retain the role of “maestri di cultura” and keep on sowing Christ in modern culture. This new evangelisation demands a new ecclesiology: a Church that embraces communion and a Church in a relationship with the world. This leads to reciprocal help, because when the Church interacts with society it teaches man to be more humane and at the same time the Church gains a lot from the world.
In concluding, Mgr Bishop Grech said that the Synod came up with various practical suggestions so that there would be this new evangelisation. These suggestions can be delved into more deeply in the future. He ended his talk by saying that he hoped that the diocesan presbytery will continue to renew itself spiritually. In this way, the new evangelisation can take place and will contribute towards a spiritual enrichment of the island.
Archpriest Can Tarcisio Camilleri, delegate of the Gozitan clergy, announced the activities for the clergy in the coming future. Refreshments followed.