Pope Francis will go to Malta on April 2-3, said the Director of the Holy See Press Office, in a brief communication. “Accepting the invitation of the President of the Republic of Malta, of the Authorities and of the Catholic Church of the country, Pope Francis will undertake an Apostolic Journey to Malta on April 2-3, 2022, visiting the cities of La Valletta, Rabat, Floriana and the Island of Gozo. The program and further details of the visit will be announced shortly.”
Trips in 2021
Last year the Holy Father undertook three Apostolic Journeys outside of Italy. The first to Iraq, from March 5-8; the second to Budapest, for the closing of the International Eucharistic Congress on September 12, and immediately after to Slovakia, until the 15th of the same month. Finally, the most recent trip took the Pontiff first to Cyprus and then to Greece, from December 2-6.
The trip to Malta will be Pope Francis’ 36th Apostolic Journey outside of Italy, who during his pontificate has touched 51 nations. Before going to Malta, the Holy Father is scheduled to go to Florence on Sunday, February 28. He will celebrate Mass in the Basilica of the Holy Cross, at the end of his meeting with the Bishops and Mayors of the Mediterranean.
A Postponed Visit
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. In this connection, we remind that this year again the Curia’s Spiritual Exercises in the period preceding Easter, will not be held communally in Ariccia’s Divine Master House but individually.
Previous Papal Visits
Pope Francis will be the third Pontiff to visit Malta, after Saint John Paul II’s two visits, in 1990 and 2001, and Benedict XVI’s visit on April 17-18, 2010.
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester