On This Rock: The Faith of Malta

On a rock in the middle of the Mediterranean, a young boy proclaims, “I love to learn about Jesus!” Where did such faith come from? Down through the centuries, it came directly from St. Paul the Apostle.

The island of Malta rises out of the sea in a position virtually equidistant from mainland Europe to the north, the upper regions of Africa to the south and halfway between the shores of the westernmost ports of the Middle East and the gateway to the Atlantic. It is a small, rocky place hidden in the middle of everything. St. Paul found it by accident, quite literally, when the ship on which he was being taken to Nero’s Rome for the trial that would lead to his martyrdom smashed into one of the outlying rocks just off the coast of Malta, hurling everyone into the sea (cf. Acts 27-28). Paul made it ashore, as did St. Luke and all the others. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call that a miracle, but what happened next eclipses even the unlikeliness of that rescue. For the next three months, Paul healed the sick, instructed the ignorant and proclaimed the Gospel on the island made of rock. By the time he left, the seed of the Christian faith had taken root.

Twenty centuries later, this young boy is surrounded by his peers as, together, they are formed in the Catholic faith. St. Paul is long gone, but the gift he gave to the island of Malta has been passed down from generation to generation. And since the early 20th century, the primary custodian of that gift has been the Society of Christian Doctrine — a lay community that runs catechetical centers attached to just about every parish on Malta, as well as on its sister island of Gozo, and across the globe in such places as Australia, England, Poland, Albania, Peru, Cuba, the Sudan and Kenya.

Read more at OSV Newsweekly