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Sunday, April 18, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 17 APR 2010 (VIS) - At 3.30 p.m. today the Pope departed from Rome's Fiumicino airport, landing an hour and a half later at Luqa international airport in Malta, thus beginning the fourteenth apostolic trip of his pontificate.

  Following a welcome speech by George Abela, president of the Republic of Malta, the Holy Father pronounced his address:

  "The occasion of my visit to these islands is the 1950th anniversary of St. Paul's shipwreck off the island of Malta", he said. "St. Luke describes this event in the Acts of the Apostles, and it is from his account that you have chosen the theme of this visit: 'We are to be stranded on some island'".

  Benedict XVI highlighted how Malta "has been at the crossroads of many of the great events and cultural exchanges in European and Mediterranean history, right up to our own times. ... To these shores, then, in the mysterious designs of God, the Gospel was brought by St. Paul and the early followers of Christ. Their missionary work has borne much fruit over the centuries, contributing in innumerable ways to shaping Malta's rich and noble culture".

  "You", the Pope told the Maltese people, "continue to play a valuable role in the ongoing debates on European identity, culture and policy. At the same time, I am pleased to note your Government's commitment to humanitarian projects further afield, especially in Africa. It is greatly to be hoped that this will serve to promote the welfare of those less fortunate than yourselves, as an expression of genuine Christian charity.

  "Indeed", he added, "Malta has much to contribute to questions as diverse as tolerance, reciprocity, immigration, and other issues crucial to the future of this continent. Your nation should continue to stand up for the indissolubility of marriage as a natural institution as well as a sacramental one, and for the true nature of the family, just as it does for the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death and for the proper respect owed to religious freedom in ways that bring authentic integral development to individuals and society".

  Noting the fact that "Malta also has close links to the near East, not only in cultural and religious terms, but even linguistically", the Pope pointed out that "much has still to be done to build relationships of genuine trust and fruitful dialogue, and Malta is well placed to hold out the hand of friendship to her neighbours to north and south, to east and west.

  "The Maltese people", he concluded, "enlightened for almost two millennia by the teachings of the Gospel and continually fortified by their Christian roots, are rightly proud of the indispensable role that the Catholic faith has played in their nation's development. The beauty of our faith is expressed in various and complementary ways here, not least in the lives of holiness which have led Maltese to give of themselves for the good of others. Among these we must include Dun Gorg Preca, whom I was pleased to canonise just three years ago (3 June, 2007). I invite all of you to invoke his intercession for the spiritual fruitfulness of this, my first pastoral visit among you".
PV-MALTA/                                VIS 20100418 (550)

1 comment:

  1. Pope Benedict XVI was a real Godsent because the Maltese showed that their christian roots are still alive and at the sametime the PRESENCE OF THE VICAR OF CHRIST strenghtened our FAITH.


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