Cardinal congratulates Malta

Cardinal O'Brien congratulates Malta for being a Christian voice in the newly enlarged EU.  

Cardinal Keith O'Brien on a visit to the island of Gozo in Malta to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Church of Ss Peter & Paul on Tuesday 29 June 2004, used his homily to join join with Pope John Paul II in thanking Malta for its commitment to promote the mention of Europe's Christian heritage in the European Constitution.  

The Cardinal added;  
"as a Catholic Christian country the voice of Gozo and Malta must continue to be heard among those other voices now members of the European Union."  

The full text of Cardinal O'Brien's homily is shown below.  

ENDS  

Peter Kearney  
Director  
Catholic Media Office  
5 St. Vincent Place  
Glasgow  
G1 2DH  
0141 221 1168  
pk@scmo.org  
www.scmo.org  


Notes to editors:  
1. Cardinal O'Brien is in Malta to participate in the celebrations surronding the anniversary of the church of Ss Peter & Paul, as two of his priests in the Archdiocese of St. Andrew's & Edinburgh are from Gozo - Fr. Lorreto Tabone and Fr. Joseph Portelli  

2. The island nation of Malta has a population of 400,000, of whom about 91% are Catholic  


200TH ANNIVERSARY OF CHURCH OF SS PETER AND PAUL  

NADUR, GOZO, MALTA  

HOMILY PREACHED BY CARDINAL KEITH PATRICK O BRIEN  

FEAST OF SS PETER AND PAUL : TUESDAY 29 JUNE 2004  

Introduction:  

It is indeed a very great privilege for me being here with you today as we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the building of your magnificent church in Nadur in honor of the apostles St Peter and St Paul “ celebrating this Mass on the feast day itself.  

It is a joy to come here to the scene of the labours of the great St Paul who sowed the seeds of the Christian faith in this area binding the peoples of Gozo and Malta evermore closely to the teaching of St Peter, and, of course, of the teaching of Jesus Christ himself.  

History of Nadur:  

The earlier history of Nadur is well known to you all - so many of you who have been living here throughout your lives and many others who have returned for this particular celebration.  

We know that the peoples who initially lived in Nadur were open to the worship of God “ the bronze statue of Apollo in Nadur itself is indeed tangible proof of the search of the peoples of Nadur and indeed throughout Gozo for the one true God.  

It was the great St Paul himself, that apostle to the gentiles who brought the light of the Christian faith to these islands and to this place and for that we give God, our Father in Heaven immense thanks. St Paul led you to that worship of the one true God whom your ancestors sought in years past.  


I have been told that the word Nadur is equivalent to the word meaning watchfulness “ and that has been part of the heritage of your peoples down through the century “ a watchfulness to ensure that your lands and the seas around them were kept safe from invaders. The knights of St John arrived in 1530 with the inhabitants of Nadur then believing their worries would be ended “ but the great siege of 1551 brought further tragedy and worries that were very difficult to surmount.  

However, the spiritual leaders decided that each village should have a pastor to love and lead the faithful binding them evermore closely to Jesus Christ himself. It was in 1688 that Nadur was proclaimed a parish with the hill at its centre, the first chaplain being Father Bernard Haber.  


The primary apostles St Peter and St Paul were chosen as the patron saints of the new parish “ and I am sure that the naming of those apostles has had an influence on all in your parish and on this Island ever since.  

The old church served its purpose for many years. However, when a new priest Father Frangisk Sapiano took over as chaplain he ensured that a new building was soon erected surrounding the old one which was finally removed to make room for the new one with the new building being solemnly blessed in 1804. It is that wonderful anniversary that we are celebrating on this occasion.  

Patrons of the parish and the church:  

As indicated to you the first apostles St Peter and St Paul were early on in the history of your parish named as patrons of the parish and then of the church.  

The naming of these apostles has had an influence on the history of your parish ever since. In the preface of today s feast day Mass, Peter is described as our leader in the faith while Paul is described as its fearless preacher . And further on it is stated that: Peter raised up the Church from the faithful flock of Israel while Paul brought your call to the nations and he became the preacher of the world .  

I ask you to think of these particular titles of St Peter and St Paul and to see how they apply to our lives at this present time.  

I know that I speak at a particularly important time in the history of Gozo and of Malta “ with your country having recently been welcomed as a member of the European Union. On this occasion I simply say two things to you: Now that you are members of the Union with around 452 million inhabitants you must do two things: You must, like St Peter continue to be leaders in your faith that Catholic Christian faith of which you have been so proud for the past two thousand years; and you must also, like St Paul, be fearless preachers of that same faith as you reach out evermore strongly into an expanded European Union and into the world.  

St Peter “ a Leader in the Faith:  


With regard to leadership in our faith I take this opportunity of reminding you of that strong and firm faith which has been handed on to you from generation to generation since the seeds of the faith were first sown on your Island. Central to the handing on of your faith has been your church, your parish, and your Catholic homes.  


Vocations to the priesthood and to the religious life have flourished on your Island “ and for this I personally am intensely grateful. As you know Father Joseph Portelli and Father Loreto Tabone both sons of this parish of Ss Peter and Paul, Nadur have given their priestly lives to serve in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, my own Archdiocese in Scotland. I take this opportunity of thanking them both most sincerely and of thanking their parents, their families and their friends. We, along with other countries, have indeed benefited from the flourishing of vocations in Gozo “ long may that flourishing continue.  

A further basic aspect of your faith which I want to emphasise at this present time is that of a stable family life. Again that has been one of the marks of your communities in Gozo over the centuries. On this island you have realised the value of Catholic marriage and family life; you try to celebrate marriage as a beautiful sacrament which it is; you yourselves look upon children as a gift from Almighty God, the gift of young people who must be brought up to know love and serve God as their Father in Heaven; and you yourselves are solicitous for the ongoing care for all in your families.  

As recently as last March detailed proposals for a European Union Family Strategy were produced and were designed to make the enlarged European Union the most family friendly region of the world by 2010. I am sure that the example of family life here in Gozo will help many other countries within the European Union. The strategy indicates: Promoting the family will ultimately make European Union citizens happier, produce greater social cohesion, have a positive effect on public health, and may in the process contribute to reversing the decline in the European Union birthrate .  

Be aware of the value of the family life which you have here on Gozo; endeavour to strengthen it in every way possible; and allow your family life to be an example to others in the different parts of the world.  

St Paul “ the fearless preacher of the faith:  

And I call on you as many calls have gone out to you before to continue to be like your Patron St Paul fearless preachers of the faith of Jesus Christ.  

I know that very many lay women and lay men have left your Island and your neighboring Island of Malta to many countries in the world carrying your faith with you. You have been exemplarily preachers of the Christian Faith wherever you have gone; and you have ensured that your children and your children s children are brought up in that faith which was handed  

on to you. I ask you to continue to be bearers of that faith to the lands where the seas will carry you “ to the four corners of our earth.  

Perhaps you also have a special responsibility through your membership now of the European Union. You become members of that community which embraces both western and eastern Europe; as Pope John Paul 11 has stated enlargement of the European Union will begin to allow the two lungs of Europe to be brought together again .  


I myself attended a Synod of Bishops in Europe in 1999 when we then urged European leaders to: Raise your voices in the faith of the violation of human rights of individuals, minorities and peoples, beginning with the right to religious freedom; pay utmost attention to everything that concerns human life from the moment of its conception to natural death, and to the family based on marriage; these are the foundations on which our common European home rests!  

I join with the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II who only last week, thanked Malta for its commitment in helping to promote the mention of the continent's Christian heritage in the European Constitution.  

The Pope voiced his appreciation when he met President Adami in Rome and I share that appreciation today. In this increasingly secular age, it is both reassuring and heartening to witness the support given by the government of Malta for the inclusion of a reference to Europe's Christian heritage in the preamble of the Constitutional Treaty of the European Union. Sadly, the version of the constitution approved by European Union leaders fails to mention Christianity. However, the constitution still must be ratified by all 25 member states before it comes into effect.  


Obviously as a Catholic Christian country the voice of Gozo and Malta must continue to be heard among those other voices now members of the European Union.  

Conclusion:  

I renew my congratulations to you on this 200th Anniversary of your beautiful church dedicated to the apostles St Peter and St Paul.  

As your church is a landmark in your village and on your Island, so too your faith must be a landmark here on Gozo and wherever people from Nadur travel. Your patrons have inspired many people before you down through the past two thousand years. May you continue to realise the value of their example “ Peter, leader in the faith and Paul its fearless preacher “ and may you all both be ever more fully aware of that strong faith which has been handed on to you and which must be handed on to others.  

 

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 236 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe to free email updates ?

Subscribe to News updates

Enter your email address to be notified of new posts:

Subscribe to:

Alternatively, you can subscribe via RSS RSS

‹ Return to News

We never share or sell your email address to anyone.

I've already subscribed / don't show me this again

Recent Posts

Bishops urge politicians to put human life at centre of Scotland’s political discourse

| 2 days ago | Blogging

Sunday 11 April 2021 Bishops urge politicians to put human life at centre of Scotland’s political discourse.   Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have released a pre-election Pastoral letter, urging Catholics to play their part “in putting human life and the inviolable dignity of the human person at the centre of Scotland’s political discourse” and to warn politicians against imposing “unjust restrictions on free speech, free expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion”.   In a 1,000-word letter distributed online and via Scotland’s 500 Catholic parishes, the Bishops ask Catholic voters to give consideration to six key areas, when selecting a candidate:   Beginning and end of life Family and Work Poverty, Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Environment Free speech, free expression, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion Catholic schools   Pointing out that “society relies on the building block of the family to exist and flourish” the bishops add; “government should respond to this reality with policies creating economic and fiscal advantages for families with children.”   Voters are also urged to visit the website rcpolitics.org and to use the resources there to help them consider a range of election issues and to question candidates.     ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     Note to Editors:   The Election resources are available here:  https://rcpolitics.org/scottish-parliament-election-2021/   The full text of the Pastoral Letter is shown below:       Scottish Parliament Election 2021 - Putting Human Life and  Dignity at the Centre   A letter from the Catholic Bishops of Scotland   Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,   This election presents us with an opportunity to play our part in putting human life and the inviolable dignity of the human person at the centre of Scotland’s political discourse. As Catholics we have a duty: to share the Gospel and to help form the public conscience on key moral issues. It is a duty of both faith and citizenship.  This election is an opportunity to be the effective witness our Baptism calls us to be.  The new parliament and government will be tasked with leading the recovery from the damage wrought by the current health crisis and to tackle the significant impact it has had on many aspects of life including health care, mental health and wellbeing, religious freedom, and care for the poor. It must also build on the positives arising from the Pandemic, including caring for the most vulnerable, and a renewed sense of respect for human life, human dignity, and the value of community.   These are some of the issues you may want to consider in the forthcoming election:   Beginning and end of life It is the duty of parliamentarians to uphold the most basic and fundamental human right to life. Elected representatives ought to recognise the existence of human life from the moment of conception and be committed to the protection of human life at every stage. Caring for the unborn and their mothers is a fundamental measure of a caring and compassionate society; a society which puts human dignity at the centre.   We ought to be mindful of a further attempt to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland, likely to happen in this parliament. Legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia suggests that some lives are not worth living, contrary to the Christian belief that every life has equal dignity and value. It is incumbent upon our parliamentarians to show compassion for the sick and dying. This is not achieved by assisted suicide or euthanasia but by ensuring support is provided through caring and attentive politics, including investment in palliative care.   Family and Work Society relies on the building block of the family to exist and flourish. The love of man and woman in marriage and openness to new life is th...

Return to Worship in time for Easter

| 01st March 2021 | Blogging

Return to Worship in time for Easter 1 March 2021 Responding to last week’s statement on the reopening of Places of Worship by the First Minister, the Catholic Bishops of Scotland have issued a statement welcoming the move and calling for a removal of the cap, which limits the number of people who can attend. Instead, the bishops maintain congregation size should be calculated in accordance with the size of each church, a system similar to that used in the retail sector, which still maintains social distancing regulations.   The full text of the statement is shown below. ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     As Scotland’s Catholic bishops, we welcome the recent announcement by the First Minister foreseeing a return to our churches for the most important celebration of the liturgical year at Easter. We also welcome the recognition of the status of public worship implicit in this decision. The Catholic Community recognises the seriousness of the pandemic and is committed to working with others to avoid the spreading of infection. At the same time, we anticipate ongoing dialogue with the Scottish Government regarding the requirement of a numerical “cap” on the number of worshippers. As we continue to observe social distancing  and the protocols on infection control and hygiene formulated by the Bishops’ Conference working group under the leadership of the former Chief Medical Officer Sir Harry Burns, we maintain that it would be more appropriate for each church building to accommodate a congregation in proportion to its size rather than on the basis of an imposed number. We echo here the timely words Pope Francis addressed to the representatives of countries to the Holy See on the 8th February 2021: Even as we seek ways to protect human lives from the spread of the virus, we cannot view the spiritual and moral dimension of the human person as less important than physical health. The opening of churches is a sign that the sacrifices endured so far are bearing fruit and gives us hope and encouragement to persevere. We pray that the Risen Christ, for whom we long during this holy season of Lent, will bless and bring healing to our nation.  ...

Church leaders urge withdraw of controversial section of Hate Crime Bill

| 12th February 2021 | Blogging

Church leaders urge withdraw of controversial section of Hate Crime Bill to allow “adequate consideration”   Friday 12 February   An unprecedented alliance of Catholic and Evangelical church leaders are urging the Scottish Government to drop part of its proposed Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill to allow time for “detailed consideration of crucial provisions.” The Bill, which would potentially criminalise any criticism of Transgender ideology has been criticised by the Catholic Church, the Free Church of Scotland and the Evangelical Alliance.   In a letter addressed today (Friday 12 February) to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Humza Yousaf, the church leaders call for greater protections for freedom of expression and say:   “We believe that people should be completely free to disagree with our faith in any way, including mocking and ridiculing us. We are convinced that our faith is true and has a sufficient evidential basis to withstand any criticism, we therefore welcome open debate.”    By contrast, concerns are raised that any disagreement with or criticism of Transgender identity could fall foul of the new law, if passed in its current form. The church leaders point out, that “Transgender identity has been subject of extensive and emotional public discussion. Such free discussion and criticism of views is vital as society wrestles with these ideas.” They warn however, that they “cannot accept that any position or opinion at variance with the proposition that sex (or gender) is fluid and changeable should not be heard.”   The letter marks the first time Catholic, Free Church and Evangelical Alliance leaders have jointly petitioned the Scottish Government and sought a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice. Supporting “open and honest debate” the letter ends with an assertion, that “A right to claim that binary sex does not exist or is fluid must be matched with a right to disagree with that opinion; and protection from prosecution for holding it.” As well as a warning that: ”The Parliament now has approximately four weeks to complete the passage of the bill. This is extraordinarily tight and risks inadequate and ill-thought through legislation being passed. No workable solutions to issues of freedom of expression have so far been suggested. If no such solutions can be found we hope the Scottish Government will now consider withdrawing the stirring up hatred offences in Part 2 of the bill to allow more detailed consideration and discussion and to ensure freedom of expression provisions, which enshrine free and open debate, are afforded the scrutiny they require.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     Notes to Editors:   The full text of the letter is shown below. Humza Yousaf MSP Cabinet Secretary for Justice The Scottish Government St. Andrew's House Edinburgh EH1 3DG   Friday 12th February 2021   Dear Mr Yousaf,     Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill – Stage 2 amendments   We are writing to you as representatives of three communities of churches in Scotland in relation to the progress of the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) bill at Stage 2 and to ask if we may be able to meet with you in the coming days in relation to this.   As you know we have engaged extensively throughout the bill process including a number of meetings with you and your officials, and all gave oral evidence to the Justice Committee on 10th November. In all of this we have sought to play a constructive role. We recognise the sensitivities involved in this bill, have sought consensus, and looked to help play our part in protecting vulnerable communities from hate crime whilst at the same time protecting fundamental freedoms on which we all depend for our common life. Our approach has never been to just narrowly consider...

FUNERAL MASS FOR BISHOP VINCENT LOGAN 26 JANUARY 2021

| 26th January 2021 | Blogging

FUNERAL MASS FOR BISHOP VINCENT LOGAN 26/01/2021 It seems almost a cliche to say it, but every human person is a mystery. It’s not surprising though, as it is in God ‘we live and move and have our being’ and he himself is the ultimate mystery, and we have our origin in God. The Catechism reminds us that ‘we are most like unto God in our soul’, and since each one of us is unique in every way, to say we are a mystery seems almost like an understatement. And this mysteriousness is at so many levels. From the biological point of view, we are a mystery because we are formed by the mixing of our parents’ genes and by the environment in which we are planted. From a psychological point of view, we are formed by our parents by our families, by our siblings, friends and relations, by the circumstances of our lives and our loves, our knocks and our disappointments. Most of us have had the good fortune to have been conceived in love and nurtured and nourished in love. Others, though, regrettably haven’t had that great start. And often, for those who are fortunate, there is one great thread of God’s goodness that powerfully shapes us. For most of us, this powerful goodness originates in the Faith passed on to us from our parents, a thread which runs throughout our lives and more than any other influence, arguably, shapes and guides the direction of our lives. Also, for those of us fortunate enough to be baptised, as well as inheriting the common humanity into which we are created in the image and likeness of God, our baptism in Christ also confers on us divine filiation - sonship and daughtership in God - enabling us, as St Paul says, to call God, Abba, our Father. And we spend the rest of our lives on earth finding out what are the consequences for us of this wonderful gift: we never stop learning how to become a better son or a daughter of God. All of this is true of Vincent Paul Logan. Vincent was born on 30th June 1941 to Joseph and Elizabeth Logan (nee Flannigan) into a committed Bathgate Catholic family and - like all Bathgate Catholic bairns – Vincent, together with their other four sons, inherited a strong faith from them. Of Vincent’s brothers James, John, William and Joseph. Only James now is still alive. Later also, Vincent’s four married brothers’ spouses (Esther, Maeve, Grace and Celia) and subsequently their families – nephews (Vincent and Joseph here today), Gerard and Edward, also Paul, now deceased, who like Bishop Vincent, tried his vocation also at Drygrange Seminary, and nieces Elizabeth, Margaret, Lisa and Anne-Marie - All members of this great extended family had their influence on Bishop Vincent throughout his life, just as today they mourn for him, assisting him by their prayers and Masses on the cleansing road to the Heavenly Kingdom. But for a baptised Catholic man, who has in addition received a vocation from the Lord to priesthood, it is also his special relationships, outside the family - school friends, close friends met on life’s journey, fellow seminarians, priest friends and the pastoral and personal relationships a priest makes through his pastoral work, also continued to shape Vincent, up until almost the moment of his death. From his earliest days, Vincent Paul Logan wanted to be a priest. His desire to attend and serve Mass daily, as a young boy with his mother and brothers after their dad went off to work, of course pointed him in the direction of a vocation to priesthood. As a committed Altar Boy, Vincent’s first desire to put himself forward as a candidate for priesthood resulted, as he says himself, in ‘being chased’ in 1952 by Canon Davitt his parish priest because he was too young - only 11. A year later 1 though, in 1953, he went to Blairs, our National Junior Seminary, at 12 and his journey to priesthood began in earnest. Drygrange, the seminary for the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh was the next step towards priesth...