A course entitled ‘Desire, Grace, and Self-Awareness’ starts today as part of a new pastoral programme of the Missionary Society of St Paul (MSSP) Oratory in Birkirkara.
The course brings together psychological and spiritual insights to help participants reflect on human desires that motivate life. The four-session course is spread over four consecutive Wednesdays that run from 7.15 to 9pm.
This is one of a series of formation courses for adults spread throughout the MSSP Oratory’s recently launched pastoral programme, ranging from psycho-spiritual courses to biblical.
The programme is structured around the rhythm of the liturgical year, giving prominence to the special liturgical seasons of Advent, Lent and Easter. At the beginning of Advent and Lent respectively, the MSSP will hold one-day retreats to help introduce participants to the significance of these special times. And during Lent it will hold separate talks for adults and youths respectively, inviting participants to delve deeper into the themes related to this season.
The programme is structured around the rhythm of the liturgical year
The core of the programme continues to be monthly catechesis talks on the Word of God. The theme for year’s series of catechesis talks is Jesus’ table fellowship as depicted in the Gospel of Luke. Every month, participants are exploring Jesus’ profound revelations during the breaking of bread, the meaningful encounters he had around the table, and the challenges he both created and confronted.
For those who wish to continue this reflective journey, attendees can also commit to attend a lectio divina group, where they can share their personal spiritual journey in the context of the Gospel passage of the catechesis talk.
For youths, the MSSP Youth section is also organising the ‘Bible and Beer’ series of sessions at a venue outside the Oratory throughout the year. During these events, a panel of experts comes together to present a topic in the light of faith, culture, and social trends to spark discussions in small groups over a meal.
This year, the Oratory is also holding a ‘reflection week’ that will host several seminars, exhibitions and discussion panels, inviting participants to reflect together through faith on important current themes and the more pressing issues of our time.
Throughout the year, the MSSP organises guided silent retreats to enable participants to spend time in personal prayer and reflection, away from the routine and noise of work and everyday life.
Over the last couple of years, the MSSP Oratory has developed into a school of evangelisation for many, providing Christian formation for adults, youths, and children.
The pastoral programme seeks to facilitate the spiritual growth of a Christian community grounded in engaging in daily liturgical celebrations and the communal sharing of the Eucharist. Furthermore, every Friday, the community starts the day with early morning prayer. This helps the community step out of the ordinariness of life and be open to newness and grace.
The Oratory has always been a space where many children and youths experience what it is like to form part of the Church. Apart from catechism classes for those preparing to receive their Holy Communion and Confirmation, the Oratory assists many youths as they seek to live their faith truthfully in the face of challenging circumstances that they face.