On Saturday, 8th December, the community of the Seminary joined the rest of the Church in the celebration of the Solemnity of The Holy Conception. This is a special feast for our community since the Chapel at the Seminary is dedicated to Our Lady, Immaculate Conception. On this occasion the Liturgical Group organised various special activities.
On Friday evening, the seminarians participated in the Vespers at the Cathedral. That same evening, there were moments of adoration of the Holy Eucharist on the occasion of the first Friday of the month. Fr Alex Refalo led the service during which the prayer of the Akathistos was said. The Akathistos is a prayer of praise which the Church of the East says to Mary, Mother of God.
On Saturday morning, we sang the Lauds. Following the Short Reading, Deacon Gabriel Gauci made a homily for the occasion. He talked about the origin of the dogma of the Holy Conception. He gave a short explanation of the Christological and Ecclesiological interpretation of this dogma by two great theologians of the Twentieth Century, Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar. The seminarians participated in the Pontifical Mass at the Cathedral.
At mid-day, Mgr Bishop Grech joined the community of the Seminary for the Midday Prayer. After the Short Reading, he shared with us some thoughts related to the occasion. The Bishop emphasised the importance of creating a dialogue between God and us. He pointed out the fact that the Liturgy of the Word for that day stressed the contrast between Adam, who lacked communication with God (so much so that he was afraid of Him), and Mary, whose life, from its immaculate conception, was one continuous dialogue with God.
Mgr Grech said that every Christian is urged to participate in a dialogue with God. This is true especially of us seminarians and priests. As dialogue in social institutions follows a certain structure, so does dialogue of the priest with God. The Bishop explained the structure of this dialogue: prayer, academic studies and obedience to one’s superiors. This structure leads the seminarian and the priest to communication with God.
The formators, the Bishop together with the seminarians participated in a dinner held for the occasion.