Pope Asks Prayers for Weekend Trip to Malta

‘I Shall be a Pilgrim in the Footsteps of the Apostle Paul’

Weekend Trip to Malta
(C) Vatican Media

Pope Francis today asked for prayers for his weekend trip to Malta, April 2-3.

His appeal came at this week’s General Audience in Paul VI Hall, following his commentary on old age.

“Dear brothers and sisters, next Saturday and Sunday I will go to Malta. In that luminous land, I shall be a pilgrim in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, who was welcomed there with great humanity after being shipwrecked at sea on his way to Rome. This Apostolic Journey will therefore be an opportunity to go to the wellsprings of the proclamation of the Gospel, to know at first hand a Christian community with a lively history stretching back thousands of years, and to meet the inhabitants of a country that lies at the center of the Mediterranean and in the south of the European continent, which today is increasingly engaged in welcoming so many brothers and sisters seeking refuge. From now on I greet all of you Maltese from the bottom of my heart: have a good day. I thank all those who have worked to prepare this visit and I ask every one of you to accompany me in prayer. Thank you!”

The trip to Malta will be Pope Francis’ 36th Apostolic Journey outside of Italy, who during his pontificate has touched 51 nations.

The visit to Malta was planned for May of 2020. Then, unfortunately, because of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was decided, prudently, to postpone the trip. The first hypothesized date was last December but in that case, there were no official communications. Now, finally, the trip has been planned for the beginning of the spring, during Lent.

The Journey’s theme is ‘They Showed Us Unusual Kindness’ (Acts 28:2) and highlights the plight of migrants crossing the Mediterranean toward Europe as well as promotes evangelization in the country. The visit’s logo shows open hands from a ship reaching out toward a Cross.

The theme also recalls the hospitable and warm welcome St. Paul received in 60 A.D. when his boat was shipwrecked and washed up on the shores of Malta.