By Vatican News staff reporter
On the eve of Pope Francis’s 36th Apostolic Journey abroad, he went as is his custom to the Roman Basilica of Saint Mary Major to entrust his visit to Our Lady, according to a statement from the Holy See Press Office.
Pope Francis will depart Rome on Saturday morning, arriving in Malta around 10:00 AM local time.
On Wednesday, during the General Audience, he called Malta a “luminous land”, and his destination as a “pilgrim in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul.”
It was on Malta that Paul was “welcomed with great humanity after being shipwrecked at sea on his way to Rome,” the Pope remarked during the General Audience.
It is on Malta that the Pope hopes to touch first hand the “wellsprings of the proclamation of the Gospel…to know at first hand a Christian community with a lively history stretching back thousands of years, and to meet the inhabitants of a country that lies at the center of the Mediterranean and in the south of the European continent, which today is increasingly engaged in welcoming so many brothers and sisters seeking refuge.”
Live coverages begins on Saturday morning with the Pope meeting Meeting with the Authorities and the Diplomatic Corps in the “Grand Council Chamber” of the Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta.