Pope Francis: Malta is at the “forefront” of migration crisis

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Pope Francis looked back on his trip to Malta during his weekly General Audience. He said the spirit of welcome and charity that was extended to St. Paul upon his arrival to the island should be upheld during today's migration crisis, which he says is “not simply an emergency but a sign of our times.”

“Migrants,” said the Pope, reflecting on his visit to a refugee center in Malta “bring with them unique stories and have a wealth of gifts to offer.”


Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

Following my recent Apostolic Journey to Malta, I renew my thanks to the President and civil authorities, to the Bishops and faithful, and to the many volunteers for their generous welcome.

In the Acts of the Apostles, we read that Paul, after his shipwreck off the island of Malta, was received there with “unusual kindness” (28:2). This spirit of welcome and charitable concern shown by the Maltese to the Apostle and his companions should inspire our own response to the complex issue of migration today, which is not simply an emergency but a sign of our times.

Malta is at the forefront of these efforts, as I saw at the “John XXIII Peace Lab” Center. There we were reminded that migrants bring with them unique stories and have a wealth of gifts to offer.

At the Grotto of Saint Paul, I prayed for a renewal of the missionary spirit that has always distinguished the Church in Malta. Our prayer meeting at the National Marian Shrine of Ta’ Pinu in Gozo reflected the strong devotion of the Maltese people to Our Lady, who always brings us back to what is essential: to Christ crucified and risen and to the joy of the Gospel with its saving message of God’s merciful love for our human family. May God bless Malta and its people with prosperity and peace.

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from Denmark and the United States. May our Lenten journey bring us to celebrate Easter with hearts purified and renewed by the grace of the Holy Spirit. I invoke upon each of you, and your families, joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.

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