HomeItalyPope Francis begins his pilgrimage to Malta

Pope Francis begins his pilgrimage to Malta

The Pope arrived in Malta, where he began his two-day apostolic journey. At the international airport, Luke Francis was met, among other things, by President George William Vella. The two-day pilgrimage of the Pope is largely dedicated to the fate of the refugees.

After the welcoming ceremony, Francis will travel to the capital of Malta, Valletta. There he will meet with the President and Prime Minister of the country, as well as representatives of the authorities and the diplomatic corps.

In the afternoon, the Pope will deliver a sermon at a prayer meeting at the Ta-Pinu National Temple on the island of Gozo. Tomorrow he will pray in the grotto of St. Paul, celebrate mass in the Place de la Barns in Floriana and meet with migrants.

The motto of Francis’s trip to Malta, postponed for two years due to the pandemic, was the words from the Acts of the Apostles: “They showed us unprecedented kindness.” The logo of the pilgrimage – hands raising from the ship to the cross – like the slogan, alludes to the hospitality with which the Maltese received St. Paul when the ship carrying him was wrecked, as well as to the help they now provide to migrants from Africa.

Archbishop of Malta Charles Scicluna expressed his hope that the papal pilgrimage would be a time of spiritual healing for his compatriots. The main themes of Francis’ visit will be poverty and migration, peace, hope and solidarity.

Meetings with refugee families

Even before leaving St. Martha’s House and leaving, Francis met with several refugee families from Ukraine, who were taken in by the community of St. Giles. The pope was accompanied by papal alms cardinal Konrad Krajewski.

One of the families consisted of a 37-year-old mother and two girls, aged 5 and 7, who arrived in Italy from Lvov about 20 days ago. The youngest girl has undergone heart surgery and is under medical supervision in Rome. The meeting was also attended by two mothers from Tarnopol, daughters-in-law, along with four children aged 10 to 17, who were accommodated in an apartment offered by an Italian who also arrived in Rome just over 20 days ago. The children of both families go to school in Rome. The last family that arrived in Rome through Poland three days ago consists of six people from Kyiv: a mother and father with three children aged 16, 10 and 8 and a 75-year-old grandmother. They also live in a house that an Italian woman offered them to receive refugees.

Malta has over half a million inhabitants. 60 percent identify themselves as Catholic. They are served by over 400 diocesan priests and 400 monks. There are 360 ​​churches on the small island.

This is the Pope’s fourth pilgrimage to Malta. John Paul II visited the country twice in 1990 and 2001, and Benedict XVI in 2010.

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