WATCH: Capuchin friars also changed their way of living to be near the community
The Coronavirus has also disrupted the life of religious communities. The Capuchin Franciscan Friars needed to make many changes, however they did not abandon pastoral work with the most vulnerable. Fr Hayden Williams says that work with the poor and the needy is the heart of the Capuchin brothers.
Fr Hayden continued with his daily visits in prison to provide pastoral service to inmates, officers and workers at the facility.
Until a month ago, Fr Hayden lived with four other friars at the Għajn Dwieli convent. The other friars are aged over 70.
“They immediately had to leave the community and convent – two went to the Kalkara convent and the other two are at the Floriana convent. Two other brothers have joined me at Għajn Dwieli, all three of us in a small community – we afford to go out and continue with our service”.
The number of friars at Mater Dei hospital due to their age and health condition have decreased from six to three. They will not go to the convent and will remain in hospital, while there is now one friar at the Oncology hospital. Fr Hayden is now giving service alone at prison following the departure of two other friars.
Asked on the need of a religious friar in prison, Fr Hayden gave two reasons: “First of all, Jesus does not abandon anyone, that is Jesus says in the scripture that ‘I was in prison and you visited me’ – Jesus himself experienced prison, always in his way. That is the love of God abandons no one, even those who sin. Another reason is that a person who is imprisoned loses freedom but not dignity”.
The Capuchin Fathers have made special arrangements, however they also continued with the ‘Fondazzjoni Suret il-Bniedem’ which works with the homeless. He added that although the convents are closed, their churches are open at times for private praying, as recommended by the church authorities in Malta.