Pope in Malta “Offer assistance to the human suffering in Ukraine”
FLORIANA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Pope Francis’ visit to Malta has entered its final day and reached its peak on Sunday in which he celebrated a mass attended by some 20,000 people. The mass in Floriana was followed by the recitation of the Angelus.
At the end of the Angelus, the Pope turned his attention to the humanitarian tragedy continuing to unfold in Ukraine. “May we be tireless in praying and in offering assistance to those who suffer,” he said. “Peace be with you.” Referring to his apostolic visit to Malta, Pope Francis said: “I will bring back many memories of the events and conversations of these days. Above all, I will remember many of your faces, as well as the luminous face of Malta! I thank all those who worked so hard to prepare for this visit, and I cordially greet our brothers and sisters of the different Christian denominations and religions whom I have met in these days,” he said. “I ask all of you to pray for me, as I will for you. Let us pray for one another.” The Maltese islands, the Pope said, “breathe a sense of the People of God,” and he hoped that they may long continue to do so, following the example of Saint Gorg Preca, before turning his attention to the young “who are your future.” “Dear friends, I want to share with you the most beautiful thing in life. Do you know what it is? It is the joy of giving ourselves completely in love, which makes us free. That joy has a name: it is Jesus. I wish you the beauty of falling in love with Jesus, the God of mercy, who believes in you, dreams with you, loves your lives and will never disappoint you,” he said. The Pope also urged the young not to forget their roots, and to ensure that they keep in contact with the elderly, including their own grandparents.
The Popès address was made shortly after Archbishop Charles Scicluna expressed a few words of thanks for his Apostolic Visit to Malta. But the Pope insisted that in fact, he should really be the one saying “grazzi.” As he expressed his gratitude towards Pope Francis for his decision to visit Malta, Maltàs Archbishop Charles Scicluna expressed his hope that it would instill in the Maltese the same warmth of charity and unusual kindness that they had shown when they welcomed St Paul nearly two thousand years ago.
During the homily, Pope Francis warned the faithful against using an outward religiosity to “conceal the worm of hypocrisy” and point their fingers at others, emphasising that it was their behaviour which proved whether they were true disciples of Christ. His reflections were inspired by the Gospel reading of the day: the account of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery. Pope Francis thus urged the faithful to ask themselves, whenever they prayed or participated in religious services, whether they were truly attuned to the Lord. The Pope also took the occasion to express his gratitude at the strong presence of the Catholic Church in Malta, observing that in Malta, the people of God were “numerous and lively, faithful in seeking the Lord through a concrete, lived faith. For this, I thank all of you”.
On the way to Floriana, the Pope has stopped for a short visit to the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Hamrun, the chapel established by the Society of Christian Doctrine (MUSEUM) founded by Saint Gorg Preca. It houses the sacred remains of the saint, who was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2001 and canonised by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007.
Early Sunday morning, Pope Francis met with the Jesuits community at the Apostolic Nunciature in Rabat. Then, the Pontiff also visited St Paul’s Grotto at St Paul’s Basilica in Rabat where tradition says that St Paul lived during his stay in Malta. He mentioned that St Paul was welcomed by kindhearted pagan people, who treated him well. He prayed to God that as a nation understand the needs of immigrants and stated that mercy should not be lost with frivolous words but should be accept it. He also met with 14 representatives of different churches, who included Orthodox and Protestants. Many Rabat residents have gathered this morning in front of the St Paul’s Basilica to welcome Pope Francis. The crowd includes adults and children, many carrying the Vatican flag.