The Catholic Church in Gibraltar needs to look ahead and see how it can mould the church of the future, Bishop Carmel Zammit said on the first anniversary of his installation as Bishop of Gibraltar.
In his Homily as he celebrated Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned, he emphasised, that more attention and help had to be given to the family.
“It is in the family, which is the domestic church, that one experiences love and comes to know that God is love,” he said.
“Fundamental values which are also being lost should be rediscovered, like the value of life, respect towards others and the fundamental freedom of religious beliefs.”
Bishop Zammit gave as an example “the way our children are brought up in their family, with all the influences they are under especially through the social media”, which he believes needs to be addressed.
In his Homily, he also stressed how at times difficult decisions needed to be taken within the Church even though people may at times be tempted “to look back at how the Church fared in Gibraltar in the past and live in nostalgia”.
But the past is the past, he insisted, “and whether we like it or not the world has changed and people have also changed in their way of life”.
Looking back on his first year as Bishop of Gibraltar, he expressed how he considered it to have been “a blessed one”.
“Much of what has happened is a source of grace,” he said.
“I am happy to be with you, and I thank God for the generosity of the people in Gibraltar. I am very encouraged by your support and understanding.”
“I always say when I am asked about Gibraltar that I couldn’t have found a better people, who are sympathetic and understanding, ready always to forgive my failures and those of the priests who serve them. I honestly mean it when I say that it is good to be with you.”
He also spoke of the priests in this diocese.
“They are my eyes, my ears, my mouth and my feet,” he said.
“They give invaluable service in all aspects of life, to the sick, to the elderly, to the young, to families, to the schools, and to all those who approach them for pastoral help.”
He added that he was grateful too that three more priests have agreed to come back to Gibraltar to minister here.
Monsignor John Pardo who will make a public profession of faith and take the oath of office as Vicar General of the Diocese of Gibraltar next Sunday, and Father Mario Tong who is the Administrator at the Cathedral, and Father Danny Hernandez who will also be returning.
Together with the other priests, he added, they will all be a great asset to the church here in Gibraltar.