Earlier this year I caught up once again, with Evangelistic priest and musician Father Rob Galea, who has visited Tasmania on a number of occasions. We chatted about his new autobiography and the continued work with his Stronger Youth Movement.
Father Galea has revolutionised communicating with his flock, far further afield than his parish in Bendigo. In fact his ‘parish’ is now, due to social media, the world. As well as converting new people to faith he has helped reconnect those baptised but no longer part of an active faith community.
Father Galea does this because he has been there himself. In his autobiography ‘Breakthrough’ he speaks of his youth in his native Malta and how difficulties in his youth destroyed his faith in himself and God. With this loss of faith came a lack of respect and value for his own life, he indulged in crime like shoplifting. The stealing wasn’t for the worth of the items themselves, in fact they were things he didn’t want but instead stealing was a metaphor for wanting something of worth to give meaning to his own life.
The prayers of his devout mother and a coincidence of answering a phone call from a Christian group inviting his sister to a meeting turned around in Father Galea’s life. He went to the meeting and the welcome and compassion from the Christian group gave him a new respect for those of faith and re-engaged him in life and his own Christian faith. In fact, his faith was greater, more enthusiastic and exhilarating than before and led to him take vows as a priest with the desire to help others find their way back to the church.
Father Rob spends a lot of time on the road with his evangelistic, kerygmatic message and explains that many people he encounters don’t find it easy to connect with their faith so he greets them in places other than churches, in cafes, clubs and pubs and through social media. He wants to introduce those that have lost their faith and those that never had faith, to a Jesus who is not a superhero or mythological character that they cannot identify with but a real person like themselves and like Father Rob himself.
‘Breakthrough’ is out now published by Ave Maria Press