Pope Francis today thanked the people of Malta for the “warm and affectionate welcome” he received this weekend. “These islands breathe a sense of the People of God,” he said.
He also repeated his appeal for the people of Ukraine, a nation devasted by war for the past month.
The Holy Father’s comments came after praying the Angelus following Mass in Florina during his apostolic journey to Malta.
“May the Lord accompany you, and Our Lady keep you,” the Pope said. “Let us now pray to her for peace, as we think of the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in war-torn Ukraine, which continues to be bombarded in the sacrilegious war. May we be tireless in praying and in offering assistance to those who suffer. Peace be with you!”
Following is the Holy Father’s full commentary, provided by the Vatican:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am grateful for Archbishop Scicluna’s kind words on your behalf, but I am really the one who should be thanking you! Thank you very much!
I would like to express my gratitude to the President of the Republic and the civil authorities, to my brother Bishops, to you, dear priests, men and women religious, and to all the citizens and faithful of Malta and Gozo for your warm and affectionate welcome. This evening, I will meet some of our migrant brothers and sisters, and then it will be time to return to Rome. 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 and the many kind gestures! 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. I ask all of you to pray for me, as I will for you. Let us pray for one another.
These islands breathe a sense of the People of God. May you continue to do so, mindful that faith grows in joy and is strengthened in giving. Forge further links in the chain of holiness that has led so many Maltese to devote their lives with enthusiasm to God and to others. I think, for example, of Dun Ġorġ Preca, canonized fifteen years ago. Finally, I would like to say a word to the young, who are your future. Dear young 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, who is the God of mercy – we heard this in today’s Gospel – and who believes in you, dreams with you, loves your lives and will never disappoint you. Keep going forward always with Jesus, with your family, and with the People of God; do not forget your roots. Speak with your elders, speak with your grandparents, speak with elderly people!
May the Lord accompany you, and Our Lady keep you. Let us now pray to her for peace, as we think of the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in war-torn Ukraine, which continues to be bombarded in the sacrilegious war. May we be tireless in praying and in offering assistance to those who suffer. Peace be with you!
© Libreria Editrice Vatican