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Thursday, January 22, 2004


VATICAN CITY, JAN 22, 2004 (VIS) - Guido De Marco, the president of Malta, was welcomed to the Vatican this morning by Pope John Paul who, in an address in English, told him he was "pleased to welcome you and your family to the Vatican. Your visit brings back vivid memories of my journey to Malta three years ago and the very warm welcome which I received."

The Pope added that his "Jubilee pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Paul was an occasion for me to appreciate once more your country's ancient Christian heritage, and to encourage your fellow citizens in their efforts to build a society worthy of its noble cultural traditions. Malta's strength has always been its families, which have not only enriched the social fabric but also contributed significantly to the Church's universal mission, not least through their abundant harvest of priestly and religious vocations. May families always find encouragement and support in their work of educating the young who are the future of Malta."

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