By Serena Sartini
VALLETTA, Malta, APRIL 15, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Part of Benedict XVI’s two-day trip to Malta this weekend will be a 20-minute ride on the “St. Paul,” a catamaran that will give the Pope a view of the whole panorama of Valletta.
Father Roy Toledo, delegate of the archbishop of Malta for the parishes, is also the organizer of the “pilgrimage” the Holy Father will make aboard the catamaran that will take him to Kalkara and the large port of Waterflor.
The whole event will take place on Sunday afternoon, at the end of the papal visit to Malta, when the craft with the Pontiff will enter the port of Valletta to be welcomed by close to 10,000 young people who will await him for a meeting there.
“For us Maltese the port is a sign of God’s Providence, and the sea has always represented an important part of our culture,” Father Toledo told ZENIT. “Hence we insisted that Benedict XVI repeat John Paul II’s experience in 1990, when on board a catamaran, he crossed the waters of Valletta. It was a spectacular experience. We remember it with very great joy.
“Moreover, we wanted Ratzinger to see a very popular and poor part of the city, where there are many laborers, and that, ideally, he embrace them also.”
The journey will begin at 4:45 p.m. and will last close to 20 minutes. Benedict XVI will use the same catamaran as John Paul II in 1990, called “St. Paul.”
During the trip, the Pontiff will be able to remain seated or to stand up to admire better the beauty of the city. A guide will illustrate for the Pope what he sees before him.
“The catamaran with Ratzinger on board will be accompanied on both sides by some 30 small boats that will escort him and flank him,” Father Toledo added. “Along the trajectory he might also be followed by 12-meter (40-foot) crafts that will form a sort of procession.
“The catamaran will go at a speed of four to five knots (four to six miles per hour), so that all will be able to follow the Pontiff’s craft. Traveling on the Pope’s catamaran will also be 10 young people who will take him to Waterflor, where the meeting with young people is scheduled. About 10,000 pilgrims are expected at the event, who from the morning will crowd the esplanade of the large port of La Valletta.”