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Why should a group of 39 Jesuit scholastics from Italy, Malta, Spain, Romania and France spend five days in Malta between Christmas and New Year? For a holiday?! No, not this time! Bearing in mind the creation of the new province comprising Albania, Italy and Malta as from this July, the main aim of this encounter was that the foreign scholastics (Italians in particular) could get a first-hand taste of the Maltese context, of some of our communities and apostolates… and possibly learn a word or two of this strange Maltese language! For us Maltese, this was a great opportunity to share our mother-land with brothers who have shared theirs with us during various stages of our formation. 

 

We had moments of group sharing about our dreams for the new province and possible challenges we’ll face; though we also availed ourselves of very brief touristic visits and a one-time participation at a Mass in Maltese with local parishioners. The meeting also included an exclusive chat with Archbishop Charles Scicluna who shared with us how he sees the Church in Malta, and his sources of   consolation and desolation. One day was dedicated to visit some of the Jesuit communities and apostolates there: St Aloysius’ College, the University Chaplaincy, and the province infirmary. The communities generously welcomed us with typical Maltese pastizzi, a sumptuous lunch, and some tasty cakes and tea respectively. The older Jesuits at the infirmary were delighted to see so many younger companions, and some were quite proud to “show off” their Italian language skills! On the last full day we listened to the Italian and Maltese Provincials’ experience of GC36, and then drafted a document to present to the Provincials with some reflections and proposals for the new province from us scholastics. A hidden treasure of this meeting was definitely our ability to collaborate together to put up the meeting and live in great unity this encounter: definitely a blessing from God and a big sign of hope for the future province.

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