Papal Trip to Commemorate St. Paul's Shipwreck

Vatican Confirms Details of April Journey to Malta

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 11, 2010 ( The Vatican press office confirmed Wednesday the itinerary for Benedict XVI’s April 17-18 trip to Malta.

The visit will celebrate the 1,950th anniversary of St. Paul’s shipwreck on the island that, according to tradition, occurred in the year 60 A.D., during the Apostle’s second voyage toward Rome.

The Holy Father will meet with the president of the nation, as well as Maltese youth and clergy.

He will leave Rome on Saturday afternoon, arriving in Malta at 5 p.m., and giving an address at the airport. He will then go to the capital, meeting with President George Abela, in the Palace of the Grand Master in La Valletta.

After the meeting, the Holy Father will visit and pray at St. Paul’s Grotto in Rabat, giving another address.

The following day, the Pontiff will celebrate a 10 a.m. Sunday Mass in Granero Square in the city of Floriana, followed by the midday Regina Caeli.

The Pope will have lunch with bishops of Malta in the nunciature of Rabat.
In the afternoon, he will travel by sea to the Great Port of La Valletta, where he will meet with young Maltese, and deliver an address. His final discourse will be delivered at a farewell ceremony at the airport, and he is expected back in Rome before 9 p.m..

This will be the Pope’s 14th international apostolic trip and the third time for the Mediterranean archipelago to be visited by a Pontiff, after Pope John Paul II’s visits in 1990 and 2001.
Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964. It has more than 410,000 inhabitants, 98% of whom are Catholic. It has been a member of the European Union since May 1, 2004.

Malta is slightly less than twice the size of Washington, D.C.

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