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The Province of Malta celebrates its IPC on the road to Emmaus



The Intermediate Provincial Chapter of the Province of Malta was held at Saint Rita's House in Saint Julian's from 22-24 April. 


Presided over by Assistant General for Southern Europe Fr Javier Pérez Barba, 22 of the 30 religious affiliated to the Province were able to attend the Chapter. 


In the preparatory phase of the Chapter, the Provincial Council had invited the friars to approach the work of the Chapter in the light of the Gospel story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. In particular, to focus on Luke 24 v 15: "... and he walked with them". In his homily at the Mass of invocation to the Holy Spirit, Father Javier asserted that the road to Emmaus is the same road every Christian, of every religious and of every congregation is called on to tread, and that it can become an opportunity for a triple conversion: "firstly, from false hope - based on human and worldly forces and ideas and which is the firstborn daughter of presumption - via despair, and on to theological hope. Secondly, from the euphoria that arouses a baselessly compulsive optimism and on to sadness, and then to the joy of the Sermon on the Mount. And, finally, from hollow activism to indifference, and then on to the proper diligence of one who is a witness and apostle. Conversion, therefore, to theological hope, Christian joy and tireless charity, mature fruits of Easter." 



"Our look to the future"


During the first session of the Chapter, Fr Frankie Cini of the Maltese Missionary Society of St Paul, set up a lively reflection and dialogue among the friars in which they spoke of hope and communion, as well as on the need to renew some structures. There was also an opportunity to discuss old age in religious life, the care of our elderly and sick, and the need to deal calmly with the continuing drop in the number of religious. "You need to anticipate outcomes when making decisions.” 


The second day began with the reading of the evaluation report of the Province by Fr Leslie Gatt, Prior Provincial, and continued with a report on performance against the actions requested by the most recent Ordinary Provincial Chapter in 2022. In the afternoon session, Fr Leslie shared a document entitled "Our Look to the Future", in which he introduced the main challenges that, in his opinion, the Province faces in the short-term. These issues were the main focus of subsequent discussions held in the Chapter, which considered the need (or otherwise) to make a series of hard decisions as a result of the lack of vocations and the continuing decrease in friar numbers, potential collaboration with other circumscriptions, and some proposed future projects in a number of the houses that the Province possesses. 



The Augustinian Family of Malta gathered in the Eucharistic Assembly in Valletta


The morning of the 24th, feast of the Conversion of Our Father St Augustine, was dedicated to discussing, and then voting on, a chapter resolution. In the afternoon, the assembly moved to the convent of St Augustine in Valletta, where - in a room in the process of restoration located in the upper part of what remains of the apse of the old church - the reading, voting and signing of the Acts took place.


To close, the Chapter fathers concelebrated Mass for the feast day, presided over by Prior Provincial Fr Leslie, with homily by Assistant General Fr Javier. Many lay Augustinians from the different places in Malta where the Order is present, participated in the celebration. Friars and laity were able to share a fraternal agape at the end and reflect on the journey of the past few days with "their eyes and their hopes looking to the future."




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