Pope Francis is going to Malta this weekend, hoping to bring attention to Europe’s problem of immigration, which is only getting more severe due to the conflict in Ukraine
VATICAN CITY VATICAN CITY Pope Francis heads to the Mediterranean island nation of Malta on Saturday for a postponed weekend due to a pandemic visit. His goal is to highlight the issue of migration in Europe. It has been made more apparent by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Malta The European Union’s tiny country, with just a half million inhabitants, has been in the forefront of the movement of refugees and migrants throughout the Mediterranean. Malta has often pleaded with its larger European neighbours to share greater responsibility for of welcoming the refugees who are likely to arrive.
Francis has often echoed that appeal, and is likely to be able to link it to the welcoming the Maltese gave to the apostle Paul who, according to the biblical story was wrecked by a ship off Malta about A.D. 60 while en journeying towards Rome and was treated with remarkable generosity by the inhabitants of the island.
The Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said migration will be a top topic for Francis his trip. He also said Europe’s acceptance of Ukrainian refugees was “truly admirable.”
“I believe that this terrible experience will assist in gaining more awareness, to raise awareness also to the other type of migration from the south. out of the South,” the president told Vatican Media.
While it’s not long but the two-day trip can be difficult for 85-year-old Francis who has been having difficulty walking in recent years because of an injured joint in his left knee. He’s had a difficult time lately to get from his chair to climb the stairs, while his limping gait caused by sciatica has become more apparent.
In addition to getting off and on his aircraft, Francis will embark on a catamaran on Saturday afternoon to take an adventure on Gozo. Gozo and then on Sunday plans to walk down the steps to the Grotto of St. Paul in Rabat.
Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni has said no extra measures to improve mobility were implemented that were not in line with the normal.
Francis was scheduled to travel to Malta during the month of May in 2020, but he delayed the trip after the coronavirus epidemic struck. The trip was rescheduled in the same time that Malta’s Catholic Church is in an predominantly Catholic country is getting ready for its first public Easter Week celebrations in two years.
Maltese archbishop Charles Scicluna, who is also a high-ranking Vatican official, has asked for prayers to accompany Francis on his visit, not just due to Francis his catamaran excursion on Saturday.
“That would be wonderful If he can get the perfect weather However, the two weekends prior to the papal visit have been a complete storm,” Scicluna told The Associated Press. “So we hope for something we are unable to control … it’s the weather.”
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