Malta, Vella “May unity and peace continue to flourish among us”
VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The President of Malta George Vella in an official declaration expressed his hope that the apostolic visit of Pope Francis to Malta “will bring both material and spiritual joy, so that unity and peace may continue to flourish” among the people of Malta.
While describing the Popès visit as “successful”, he thanked the public for attending in large numbers to all the events.
Pope Francis expressed his “deep gratitude” to the Maltese people in a telegram he sent to President George Vella at the end of his packed two-day journey to the island. “As I depart from Malta on my return to Rome, I express my deep gratitude to your excellency, the civil authorities and all the Maltese people,” the Holy Father wrote. “I pray that, through the intercession of Saint Paul the Apostle, your nation will be abundantly blessed by almighty God,” he added.
Speaking to journalists on the flight from Malta to Rome on Sunday evening, Pope Francis said he was impressed and “amazed”by the peoplès enthusiasm shown during his visit in Malta and Gozo, adding that the trip to Malta helped him understand the different realities of the country.
In his comments, Pope Francis also declared that returning asylum seekers intercepted at sea to Libya is “criminal.” While stressing on the need for greater European solidarity, the Pontiff said Europe should open its doors for migrants crossing the Mediterranean in the same way it is welcoming Ukrainians fleeing their war-torn country.
Pope Francis also confirmed that a trip to Ukraine “remains on the table”. “Many suggested that I should go to Ukraine, and I will do whatever I can. The answer is not a ‘nò. If we can do it, we should.”
While in Malta, Pope Francis referred twice to the Russian invasion of Ukraine making a heartfelt appeal: “Let us pray for peace, thinking of the humanitarian tragedy of tormented Ukraine, still under the bombardments of this sacrilegious war.”
Many Ukrainian flags greeted the Pope outside the Peace Laboratory, most of them carried by members of the Ukrainian community in Malta.