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Malta – douze points!

malta_01.jpgSpeaking at the last Province Assembly, Fr Mark Rotsaert SJ spoke of the important reference to communications in the GC35 documents. He endorsed the work of the Jesuit Communications Centre in Dublin as a role-model for Jesuits and colleagues looking to develop a coherent communications strategy. Since then, a four-country-strong intra-provincial communications team has met in the JCC, the manager Pat Coyle (pictured here) has been to Belgium to help develop the Province’s communications plan, and just last week, she went to Malta to provide the same service. While there, Pat met with representatives from major Maltese apostolates, including JRS, JCFJ, the Paulo Freire literacy programme, and the spirituality centre. She also met with journalists from Maltese radio, television and the print media whom, she says, hold the Jesuits there in high esteem.

At the end of two busy days it was clear to Pat that the Jesuits and their work colleagues in Malta had much to offer the mainstream media in the country. Even better, the Maltese media was anxious to focus on the work, opinions and vision of the Jesuits there. One television presenter who hosts  a very popular weekly ‘talk back’ programme told her that he really appreciated the coalface work done by the Jesuits in his country, particularly in the Jesuit Refugee Service. He said he would be delighted to host them on his show, which he claims is robust, frank and fair, a programme where people voice their opposing opinions on issues of importance for Malta today.

Fr Paul Pace SJ, the Maltese Provincial, said the two days had energised and galvanised the Jesuits and their apostolate members to make concrete the reflections on good communications as articulated in the GC 35 documents.

Also in Malta, in the same venue, Mt St. Joseph’s retreat centre, the Jesuit webmasters  from around Europe (and Paul Campbell SJ from the US ) were gathered for their annual conference, chaired by Fr Piaras Jackson SJ, editor of the Sacred Space prayer website. Pat Coyle gave a powerpoint presentation of the work of the JCC, whilst Piaras Jackson explained the latest devleopments, technical and content-related, on Sacred Space. Among the topics shared and discussed were ‘Justice on the Web’ and ‘Understanding Web 2.0’

A very moving imput was given by a refugee from Eritrea , now working for JRS Malta, on his arduous journey across the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea to seek asylum in Malta.

During this event, a slot on Maltese TV was secured for Piaras Jackson, who spoke about the 10th anniversary of Sacred Space and managed to locate a local Maltese woman who used the site daily and who also took part in the TV feature. Pat Coyle gave a long  interview to the Sunday Times newspaper about her work with the Maltese province and the work of the JCC. Visits to the ancient town of Mdina and a supberb fireworks dispaly in Valetta ensured that all who took part enjoyed a healthy balance or work and play!