The year 2010 marks the 1950th anniversary of the arrival of St. Paul on Malta, when he was shipwrecked allegedly near to what are now known as St Paul’s Islands, at the mouth of St Paul’s Bay in the north of Malta. Rumours started back in September 2009 that His Holiness may be visiting Malta to mark the occasion, and on 14th November, Archbishop Paul Cremona OP turned the speculation into reality when he confirmed that the Papal visit would take place on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th April 2010.
This will be Pope Benedict’s first visit to the Republic; Pope John Paul II visited Malta on two separate occasions, in 1990 and again in 2001. On the afternoon of Saturday 17th April, Pope Benedict will depart Fiumicino Airport in Rome bound for Malta, and the flight is scheduled to arrive at around 5pm. From there, The Pope will travel to The Presidential Palace in Valletta for a courtesy visit with the President of Malta, Mr George Abela. Once this reception has been concluded, His Holiness shall travel north-west to the historic town of Rabat to visit St. Paul’s Grotto.
On Sunday 18th April 2010, Pope Benedict will be celebrating Mass at The Granaries in Floriana, where seating capacity will be around 5,000 for this highlight of The Pope’s visit. The Mass shall start at around 10am, with The Pope starting the ceremonial procession from the Church of St. Publius. The procession will make its way through the congregation and after Mass, The Pope shall recite The Regina Coeli, a prayer that’s usually undertaken at St. Peter’s Square.
From the Granaries, The Pope will return, once again to Rabat, for lunch at the Apostolic Nunciature with the Bishops of Malta. Afterwards, Pope Benedict will depart for the Port of Kalkara, from where he will sail across The Grand Harbour to Valletta for a meeting with several youth groups, performers and bands who are taking part in a concert at 2.15pm.
For more information about The Papal Visit, contact The Diocesan Curia:
St Calcedonius Square
Floriana FRN 1535
Telephone: (+356) 21 245350