Having faith in today’s society has always been a struggle. It’s not fashionable, outdated and superseded by so many other ideas. It’s very easy to internalize it and keep it to yourself because let’s face it, it is not as if many parish masses do anything much to illuminate and recharge you and make you feel that there is something else to life.
Here I found a mass that is alight, a community that participates without making you feel different. A crop of priests that are dynamic and soul searching with their words.
So from a very individualized and personalized religion within my heart, I frowned on the idea of community and sharing my faith. I wanted it protected and personal. Yet over the years if I had to be honest with myself, this faith did not grow, was utterly useless just residing in me … maybe faithful, but not growing or being put to use.
Over the years all this changed through the Oratory at Birkirkara. Here I found a mass that is alight, a community that participates without making you feel different. A crop of priests that are dynamic and soul searching with their words. I am not talking only about the middle-aged priests that serve the community so well but also about the new echelon of young priests that have taken on the spirit of their older peers and simply amplified upon it. It is refreshing to see continuity and perseverance with the message.
Now some people in the community are “stable” married and settled and maybe different from some others, heartbroken, lost, undecided and troubled. It would seem difficult to mix these together but they rub shoulders with each other and a whole new spirit of courage envelopes us all. For those wanting a good mass … it delivers. For those needing to learn more … Catechesis sessions are held and teach in an intellectual way more about the Christian faith. For those who need to pray more, I hear there are over 22 Lectio groups to help us understand the Bible.
More importantly from my perspective, the Oratory is also home to the Alpha Group, which welcomes all pseudo or non-Christians who struggle to find value in the Christian faith and have several intellectual questions about the whole story of Jesus.
For me, the most significant change has occurred … my faith has strengthened, my spirit of sharing with others was born, my sensitivity to all that others endure has been awakened. I attribute all this to the large amount of love for one another that the community at the Oratory has available for all who attend, whatever the background, whatever the need.
I truly believe that this place is a place where the Holy Spirit reigns, and for lost souls like I have felt in the past, it is a place of hope and courage and growth.