Watch: “The pandemic taken as a challenge by the Church” – Bishop Galea Curmi

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

From the very beginning, the Church took the coronavirus situation seriously and rigorously followed the mitigation measures as indicated by the health authorities, said Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi during an interview on 103 Malta’s Heart, on Wednesday morning.

Asked how did the Church react to the pandemic, Auxiliary Bishop Galea-Curmi mentioned the time when churches were closed due to coronavirus and how once they were re-opened every measure to protect the lives and health of the people was followed. He also thanked the people who have contributed, and still are, to make the re-opening of churches a success, such as the people who help clean churches and help with disinfections.

Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi mentioned how the pandemic has not only disrupted Mass celebrations but even pastoral visits he had planned and other meetings, in schools and in homes for the elderly, amongst others, had to be cancelled.

“The coronavirus has been taken as a challenge by the Church to see what can be done differently or better,” – said the Auxiliary Bishop during the interview.

Asked how the pandemic has affected him personally, Galea-Curmi said he had to resort to technology more even though he was not used to it. He then mentioned how next week he should have participated in an international conference for the Bishops of all Member States of the EU as he is a representative of the Maltese Episcopal Conference but due to the pandemic, this will not be physically possible but will be held online.

After having been forced to close their doors to the public last March, Maltese and Gozitan churches reopened on the 13th of June 2020. Galea- Curmi said that the Archidiocese had published a number of directives which are still in place, and he mentioned a few such as; social distancing, the use of visors of masks, sanitisation of the premises and that the maximum number of people who can attend mass in each church was established, based on its size.

He also said that confessions are still being held but with the maximum of precautions in place. To reach out to the community, daily mass are still being broadcasted online and on television.

“I enjoy going for long walks and people do stop me to say thank you for broadcasting the mass everyday as for them it means a lot for their spirituality. These situations make you realise that people do appreciate,” said the Auxiliary Bishop.

He mentioned how through social media they have managed to reach Maltese from all over the world and some have contacted him or the Archdiocese of Malta to express their concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

When asked what are the main issues we need to reflect upon during this pandemic, Galea-Curmi said that during these past months we surely have learned that we need to cherish our life and what we have. “We need to safeguard our life and our health,” said the Auxiliary Bishop. Another aspect mentioned was self-discipline, when one is able to say no if something does not fit into one’s life and “this pandemic is once again teaching us to discipline ourselves.”

Reference was also made to the Christmas festivities, “with the situation as is Christmas this year will be different for sure but the peace that we experience when celebrating Christ’s birth should be expressed in different ways,” concluded Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi while appealing to people to observe the necessary measures in order to stop the spread of the virus.