During the annual live-in of parish priests held between May 18 and 20, the online presence of the parishes and the potential offered by social media were discussed.

With the help of experts in various media fields, the 70 chaplains of the Archdiocese of Malta explored possible initiatives to get the Church’s message through to more people on social media, reaching teenagers and young people and those who are searching for the Good News.

The theme of the live-in was ‘A listening Church, an outgoing Church’, and was linked to the archdiocesan renewal docu­ment of the archdiocese, One Church, One Journey.

This was the first time that a number of parishioners were able to follow and participate in the live-in meetings online, while others were present in person for the meetings held at the Archbishop’s Seminary in Tal-Virtù, Rabat, following COVID-19 restrictions.

Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea CurmiAuxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea Curmi

The first day of the live-in started with a message from Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea Curmi enquiring if the vision we have of online pastoral care is one that truly expresses the presence of a Church that hears and a Church that is outgoing. He urged the parishioners to continue to strive to deliver the Good News as good news, which it really is.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna closed the three days of discussion. He explained that one of the missions of a parish priest is to get to know the people who live in his community. He invited the parish priests to recognise the talents of people in the parish who can help the Church to continue to spread its message on social media in a language appropriate to today’s times. The Archbishop invited priests to be an instrument of mercy also online through their being present for others, and so that everyone whom they meet would get a taste of the Gospel which then would bring them closer to the Christian community.

TV presenter Peppi AzzopardiTV presenter Peppi Azzopardi

During the live-in, about a dozen media professionals, including those from the Church media, helped parishioners creatively explore existing social media platforms and digital tools. Other speakers shared their experiences and showed how online social media is accessed by both young people and adults, depending on the platform used. Youths and Christian groups who are active in parishes were also invited to talk about how they used social media during the pandemic to convey the Christian message creatively.

The live-in was organised by the Council of the College of Parish Priests together with the Communication Office of the Archdiocese of Malta.

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