Pope Francis “Malta a port of salvation for people battered”

GOZO (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Pope Francis was given a memorable welcome during his visit in Gozo late Saturday afternoon following an official meeting with the Maltese authorities in Valletta, Malta. The Pontiff is on a two-day apostolic visit to the Mediterranean island. Thousands of children and people of all ages waved the papal and Maltese flags on his way to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Tà Pinu in Gozo.
Addressing the hundreds of people at the Basilica, Pope Francis reiterated how crucial is the geographical position of the Maltese islands. “Yours is a crucial geographical position, overlooking the Mediterranean; you are like a magnet and port of salvation for people buffeted by the tempests of life who, for various reasons, land on your shores,” he said.
In his homily at Tà Pinu, Pope Francis warned that the repertoire of religious traditions does not always correspond to a vibrant faith marked by zeal for evangelization. It is important to ensure that religious practices are not reduced to relics of the past, he warned, as he underlined that religious practices should remain the expression of a living, open faith that spreads the joy of the Gospel.
Pope Francis was welcomed by he head of the diocese of Gozo Mgr. Anton Teuma. The Bishop of Gozo urged the Pope to help the Maltese and Gozitans so that like Mary will muster the courage to welcome those fleeing from wars and poverty, and seek refuge in the country. Addressing families who carry out pastoral work, civil leaders, priests, religious people, missionaries as well as members of ecclesiastical organisations and lay people gathered inside and outside the Basilica, Mgr. Teuma asked the Pope to help the faithful to consider wealth as a gift from God and share it with their brothers and sisters, instead of using it to corrupt, discriminate or create conflict and division. He also asked Pope Francis to help the faithful pray so that they may feel more responsible for the environment which he said is “disappearing from before our eyes without us realising.”
At the begining of the cermony, Pope Francis led the prayers inside the basilica. Then, the Pontiff presented the Golden Rose on the occasion of his visit to the Marian shrine in accordance with an ancient practice by which Popes show their devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It consists of a pink marble base, surmounted by a silver vase with the papal coat of arms, from which emerge the branches with two roses in natural amber and the leaves chased in silver.
On Sunday morning, after a private meeting with the Jesuits at the Apostolic Nunciature, the Pope will visit St. Paul’s Grotto in St. Paul’s Basilica in Rabat and at 10:15am, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in Floriana which will also include the Angelus prayers. As many as 12,000 people had registered to attend the mass. Before leaving Malta, Pope Francis will visit migrants at the Peace Laboratory in Hal Far.


Source: medNews