Tag Archive: maltese married priest


There is the classical example of a half filled or half empty glass. How do you view it? Half full or half empty?

It’s the same with the situation of the world today. Do you see it as something negative or as something positive? I don’t mean sickness itself but rather pointing to our lifestyle these last weeks. It’s incredible because although the internet has been present in our life for quite a time, yet it seems that most people are realising that we can do lots of actions online! There has been a proliferation of online courses, tips, dancing, home made recipes etc…Our life is heavily relying on the internet whether we like it or not! Some people have gone one step further as they have predicted that our life is never going back to ‘normal’. Whether this statement is true or not, yet we are truly grasping the power of the internet, at least for the time being.

Last time we criticised that the Roman Catholic church as it simply uses the internet to transmit the live celebration of the mass. We urged the church to go beyond just celebrating the sacraments and start using the method and language used by the online community.

What about us? We’ve been publishing the blog for a long time now [not less than 22 years now]. We can’t be full time on this blog as it won’t pay our bills plus other necessities! But what about our readers? Today I’m just publishing lots of links to do an online course about theology and/or Pastoral Studies. If you want to participate in the parish, you can’t do it if you’re not qualified! Hence let’s make the best use of the time inside our houses by attending any course which might help us in running the parish!

Please remember that most parishes don’t have enough people to manage their daily needs. There are a lot of posts to be filled. In fact most of the parishes are closing down because there aren’t enough people to take responsibility. We can’t simply criticise and do nothing. That’s not Christian at all! Let’s start….

I’m supplying some links but you can find others too. Happy browsing!

Please keep safe by following a healthy lifestyle and a by having a good dose of vitamin C.

The online aspect of the Church

I never ever remember schools closed for such a long period! Teachers were teaching one day, the next day, schools were closed. Most of them felt at a loss. How can one teach online? It has become the dilemma of many teachers as they struggle to face a new and unfamiliar situation. They struggle to conquer the world of IT [online] to communicate with their students. The main sin was, that schools – including teachers, students and parents – were never prepared for such a particular situation!

What about the church? How do we expect people to come to church? Maybe they have never had a visit from a member of the parish! They struggle to belief in a God. Most probably they hear all sorts of stories ‘against’ the church. Maybe they don’t feel the need for a god. Now to cap it all, there’s the coronavirus which has transformed practically all countries into a lock-down.

Obviously it all points down to our preparation or training. Churches like schools, have barely touched the online world! The only practical point was to celebrate the mass in an empty church and to transmit it to the internet. Well, seeing such a bare and empty church won’t be a good advertisement at all! Are we happy with that? We shouldn’t. In some churches, the Cardinal/Archbishop/bishop practically took over. Indirectly it has brought forward the old idea that the church is the priest/bishop or clergy!

As they say in English: every cloud has a silver lining. For the worldwide visitor to this blog it means that every negative situation has the potential to result in or produce something positive or beneficial. (A silver lining in a cloud is an indication that the sun is behind it.)

The internet world is NOT a church. We can’t simply produce the sacraments and pour them into whoever happens to be online! We can’t simply dump into people all the documents of the church! IF we need to push forward the mass and other sacraments mentality, people need to be trained in what are the sacraments, why do we need them etc…

Besides, the internet world, like TV, uses a complete different format such as that of hot discussions! Discussion does not mean to convert the other into your beliefs or opinion! I do remember one of my university lecturers who used to make us write down not our opinion, but that of our adversary!! One had to write down the opinion which obviously one didn’t subscribe to! Yet this was the first step to get to know the other. It had already moved mountains in the dialogue method. Secondly, we had to find at least one positive point in his/her/their opinion! Thirdly, we had to device a common point from where to start discussing! Lastly, one had to retract something in order to reach a compromise!

Another missing methodology is that of contemporary Christian life. Many people would like to see how ordinary people are living their faith today. The Facebook or Big Brother mentality shows people’s obsession today in seeing something ‘live’. From another point of view, the urge to share shows people’s needs to adhere to a community. The church can work along these lines too if we tender and care in creating the community mentality in our parishes.

Recently I have just watched a film about Saint John XXIII (who occupied the chair of Peter from 1958 to 1963). It moves one to tears in his ability of reading the signs of the times.

He was the first Pope to reach out to what they have termed [at that time], the enemies of the church. With his message of peace, he found a bridge with all people including atheists. It was no surprise that he managed to stop the world from going into a full blown and disastrous world war!

Finally they found a Pope who did not speak in theological jargon but one who appealed to the common good. He was not imprisoned in his beautiful cathedral but looked forward to understand and dialogue with all kinds of people including the people who were in jail [which was unheard of at that time].

It was no surprise that he was fooled by one of his closest friends as they struggled to keep the power as they were comfortable of playing home by celebrating a liturgy which lacked meaning for the common people! Eventually, his once close friend, asked for pardon to the dying Pope as he finally realized the Pope’s winning way of working in the church!

Are we today as practical as Saint John XXIII? Speaking about this blog, some of our readers are really sensitive when somebody writes in a way which offends their inner beliefs! How many times we discuss the church and its way forward instead of protecting ourselves?! Are we prepared to go to training sessions to improve our faith and to improve our intimacy and knowledge of our Lord? What are we doing on a practical level to improve the church on a local level? Are parishes offering online courses, prayers, discussions, talks etc…??

We started the article by our reference to teachers. As teachers need to be trained in how to handle all the wonderful world of IT. We too need to train the future leaders in the church, which is no joke. It will involve many years of preparation. We need to be IN the internet. We need to talk the way the people talk today. We need to be online more and to be like a bridge over these troubled waters [moments].

As married priests, who have been deprived of a ‘normal’ church, we could give some tips in managing the internet [we have been doing so for more than 22 years now]. In this case too, as we are living a family life. As a result of our daily experience, we can point out what are the common points with today’s world.

Prayer in Online Space

As we are presenting more time at home, it’s very easy to become bored. It’s more easy to forget God. We can be carried away by what’s being reported in the media. We as Christians, we need to feed our soul and mind with the appropriate literature. Let’s not forget to pray. Prayer can move mountains!

We are presenting some links which we hope may benefit all our readers.

The Catholic Mass (all of it written down)

http://catholic-resources.org/ChurchDocs/Mass.htm

The prayers recited by priests, religious and lay persons:

https://breviary.net/hours.htm

Where to find the breviary…

https://www.universalis.com/today.htm

http://www.ibreviary.org/en/tools/ibreviary-web.html

Daily Mass:

http://www.vatican.va/content/liturgy/en.html

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi6JtCVy4XKu4BSG-AE2chg

http://www.catholictv.org/masses/catholictv-mass/masses-live-demand

Documents of the Second Vatican Council [1963-1965] (We do mention it a lot on our blog)

http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/index.htm

Other relevant material:

http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals.index.html

Stations of the Cross

https://www.catholic.org/prayers/station.php

Mysteries of the Rosary

https://www.catholic.org/prayers/mystery.php

Free courses on the Bible

https://www.catholic.org/bible/

Radio stations

https://streema.com/radios/genre/Catholic

https://tunein.com/radio/Heavens-Road-FM-Catholic-Radio-s185353/

https://tunein.com/radio/Catholic-Talk-c100000603/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religious_radio_stations

Other links supplied by a reader of our blog. Thanks!

Prayer Resources Creighton University Online Ministries
https://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/online.html 

Faith ND – University of Notre Dame – An Outreach of the ND Alumni Association
http://faith.nd.edu/s/1210/faith/start.aspx?gid=609&pgid=61

Pray As You Go
https://pray-as-you-go.org/

Sacred Space
https://www.sacredspace.ie/
 

Families with Children
Loyola Press Faith Family Fun
https://www.loyolapress.com/our-catholic-faith/family/family-faith-and-fun
  

Prayer Groups sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago
Prayer groups (intimate size at 15 people per group) will gather weekly for 30-40 minutes to read and reflect on the Word of God, build community and share prayer intentions.
Sign up here by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 3. 


Book Clubs Sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago
Book clubs will gather weekly for approximately 60 minutes to read and reflect on faith and values-based books, articles and other resources.
Sign up here by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 3   


Other helpful Resources United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
http://www.usccb.org/about/communications/usccb-president-reflection-and-prayer-during-coronavirus.cfm

Ronald Rolheiser OMI 
https://ronrolheiser.com/en/#.XoIDk4hKjIU

Spiritual Communion Prayer by Pope Francis   My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart … I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.

Holy Week Resources

https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/3788244/Holy_Week_at_Home%20(1).pdf
Celebrating the Eucharist Missalette for Holy Week
https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/3788244/CE%2052%232__

Palm%20Sunday–Easter%5B1%5D.pdf

An Examen For Life During COVID-19

https://ignatiansolidarity.net/blog/2020/03/14/examen-covid-19/

National Catholic Reporter Feature Series
https://www.ncronline.org/feature-series/coronavirus/stories?tt

I don’t have in mind to become a doctor or else to give medical advice on what to do or how to prevent the coronavirus! Yet as a married priest I can’t help it, in writing about some parallel lines with our basic idea of married priesthood.

Fear. If languages divide us, yet one common language was seen throughout the whole world these last weeks: FEAR. When people are afraid, one is surprised what they might do. The case of the corona beer which clearly has nothing to do with the sickness has been victimised…just because it has the corona name, many people are not buying it any more!!! It’s incredible, yet when fear takes over, common sense goes out!

What did we do as a Catholic Church for so many years? The fear of death and hell has made many people submissive to our teachings. I do know of cases where at the point of death, some people have left all their possessions to the church in the belief that they would have won heaven!! Alas, their children might have gone hungry or became poor in the meantime!

In this context, now I do see why so many people are afraid to share their stories of love with a priest. Fear takes over. Even though we promise to change any details in order to protect their identity. How can we liberate these people from the slavery of fear?

Now I do understand what a friend of mine used to say: fire does not kill many people. Panic does! In fact many people in a fire die because of panic and not of fire in itself! Who hasn’t seen the crowds in the supermarkets where some people came to blows in order to buy basic items? Some psychologists called it the fear of the unknown.

Some people panic when the priest declares himself to be married. They want to stay but their panic takes control and they go to a ‘normal church’ to get married or to get baptised. There isn’t an adult faith. It’s just convenience! They are not born fighters! A married catholic priest is an unknown entity in their religious background! It’s fear of the unknown!

Look how people invaded some supermarkets and bought more than enough portions of basic needs! Some people rightly say that the longest journey in the world is not a geographical destination but rather the I to become WE! The supermarkets gave enough proof that we need to work more on community feeling and understanding. It’s one of the main missing type of work in many parishes! We still find it too difficult to leave behind the factory of sacraments to start community building as a main issue in parish work.

One of the expressions which is has become fashionable is the internet of things. Well, in some countries they have been locked in. It goes without saying that many people have to revert to the internet to spend their time and/or to communicate and/or to buy some necessities. We are experiencing a social experiment where we are practically living just with our family members. All other people are ‘virtual’.

Well, many parishes and priests have been caught on the wrong foot. How many of them can use the internet in order to proclaim the Good News? Although many of them have social media accounts, yet they have never used the internet as a medium for their work! They still relied on churches to meet people. Yet, people, especially the young ones, are practically 24/7 on the internet. Shall the coronavirus scare teach them a lesson to start using the internet more? Can we use it for the married priesthood? This was one of our thoughts at the beginning and it still is. We weren’t allowed space in a ‘normal parish’. We didn’t find it a problem because we already knew that the internet would have gained more popularity. Consequently we would meet more young people online rather than in a ‘normal church’!! One has to note that the internet is not to be used simply as a space for mass or for other lecture type of work!!

Within the virtual world, how can we enhance the sense of community? This is going to be our next challenge. People meet online, easily. Yet it doesn’t turn them into a community. One of them is the exchange of views or ideas. We do need to respect others especially when we do not agree. We can’t call others names! We cannot judge others. We have to see the frail, human face behind the monitor or the written message.

The work of community building is a never ending job. It’s not always full of roses, although even roses have thorns! We need to have more people who believe that as a community we can achieve more and better. One, on his own, cannot achieve much.