One of the preoccupations of the Church is the ever-reducing number of people who attend Mass, especially on Sundays. This is why the Maltese parish priests met at a line-in where they discussed what could be done for people to start participating in mass again.
A survey by MISCO which was commissioned by the Maltese Archdiocese had found that only 2 out of every 5 Maltese people, roughly 40% of the population, participate in Mass every Sunday. The same survey also found that 92% of Maltese are Catholic, with 74% of them going to Mass at least once a month,
The details came out in a statement by Curia saying that this figures are confirmed by the December 2017 census, which showed that Church attendance was of 38%.
Parish priests discuss their realities
The parish priests of the 70 Maltese parishes discussed their realities alone with three lay people, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi. There were also various experts and other speakers invited to the live-in as well.
The three lay people invited were Joseanne Peregin, a mother and action member of the Christian Life Community and the co-founder of Drachma Parents; Joseph Pellicano, a young councelor getting ready for a Christian wedding; and Louise Laferla, a mother and pharmacist who graduated in Theology and is an active member of the Church.
They spoke about the importance of lay people who don’t only participate in Catholic groups, but go out of their comfort zones to assist parish priests in their work. This work is spread out over many levels with the help of lay people and includes: Mass celebration and the giving of other sacraments; prayer on a community level and spiritual accompaniment on an individual level; the assistance of ill people and those going through other difficulties; and concrete help to the poor in the parish.
Parish priests from different parishes need to collaborate
Other themes discussed were the identity of the parish priest and his message in society; and the importance of collaboration where parish priests work together more while considering lay people contributors too. This synergy helps parish priests be more creating in the way they share the experience and faith of others, including those who have distanced themselves from the Church, or are in the periphery.
Dr Nicholas Briffa was also invited to the live-in to speak about a new service for holistic sustenance and strengthening which is being provided by priests within the Archbishop’s Curia.
The three-day live-in organised by the Parish Priest College Council, also provided time for prayer and for discussions between parish priests and the bishops.