A unique audio-visual exhibition that explains the biblical episodes painted on the walls of this hall in the context of themes important to today’s society. Photo: Archdiocese of Malta – Ian Noel Pace

Next Sunday, on the 8th of October 2023, the public is invited to visit the Archbishop’s Curia in Floriana during the ‘Ġenna ta’ Ġonna’ event. The chosen theme for this year’s open day is ‘A Church that serves’, and visitors will have the opportunity to experience the Church’s work in the field of diaconia, which involves assisting members of our society who are in need. These details were announced by Michael Pace Ross, the Administrative Secretary of the Archdiocese of Malta, in the presence of Mgr Charles Cordina, Episcopal Vicar for Diaconia, at the Archbishop’s Curia itself.

Over 20 activities will take place at the Archbishop’s Curia, allowing visitors to understand how the parishes assist those in need in the community; appreciate works of art and architecture; participate in informative talks; and view exhibitions organized by the Diocesan Archives, among other things.

Mr Michael Pace Ross explained that since the open day will take place in October, the month dedicated to Our Lady, visitors will receive information about why the Jesuits felt the need in 1743 to dedicate this building to the Madonna of Manresa. They will also learn how, over the years, this same building has contributed to the pastoral mission of the Church. He further explained that Casa Manresa, originally built as a retreat house, also served as a military hospital, a seminary, a boys’ school, and, for a short time during World War II, as a Court of Justice.

Photo: Archdiocese of Malta – Ian Noel Pace

In contrast to previous open days, Curia’s Refectory will be transformed into a unique audio-visual exhibition that explains the biblical episodes painted on the walls of this hall in the context of themes important to today’s society, including environmental sustainability, social support, and hospitality. Through all of this, the Church’s role as an institution, and more importantly, the dedication of individuals who invest their time and energy in the pastoral work of the Church with those most in need, will become evident. Items belonging to individuals who, in their own way, bring life to the Church will be on display during this exhibition. These items will be presented as precious artefacts in a beautiful museum to encourage reflection on and appreciation of the true treasure of the Church: its people.

The central yard of the Curia will become a place of encounter where, in addition to live music, parish priests and volunteers who dedicate their free time to help in one of the 70 parishes in Malta will engage in conversations with visitors about the work of the Church in our communities. Mgr Charles Cordina mentioned that visitors will also encounter a large fishing net featuring photos of people who assist the Church in serving society. This represents Jesus’ invitation to the apostles, emphasizing that everyone, each with their respective talents, can be a ‘fisher of men’ and contribute in whatever way possible within the Church.

The main corridors of the Archbishop’s Curia will be adorned this year with 25 paintings by artist Francesco Zahra, considered the most important Maltese artist of the mid-eighteenth century. This year marks 250 years since the death of this artist. When Casa Manresa was constructed, Francesco Zahra was commissioned to create a set of paintings to use art to facilitate the spiritual renewal of those who came to this retreat house to meditate.

The public is also invited to attend Mass at the Curia, which will be celebrated by Bishop Joseph Galea‑Curmi in the Chapel dedicated to the Madonna of Manresa. The Mass will be broadcast at 9:30am on TVM, Church.mt and Newsbook.com.mt. Another Mass will be celebrated at the Curia at 6pm in the recently restored chapel.

The Archbishop’s Curia will be open from 8:30am to 8pm. The open day programme can be found at openday.knisja.mt.

Entry is free of charge. Donations to The Archbishop’s Charity Fund are appreciated.

The crypt underneath the Archbishop’s Curia. Photo: Archdiocese of Malta – Ian Noel Pace