The above YouTube clip was shown at the beginning of the Eucharistic Celebration held at St. John’s CoCathedral, on Sunday 10th April, 2011, on the occassion of the first anniversary of the Pastoral Visit to Malta of Pope Benedict XVI. The message below, addressed to His Holiness, was read towards the end of the Thanksgiving Mass celebrated by Archbishop Paul Cremona OP, the Maltese Bishops and the Apostolic Nuncio Tommaso Caputo.
Today, on Sunday 10th April 2011, the fifth Sunday of Lent, the community of the Catholic Church in Malta are gathered, together with their Bishops and the Apostolic Nuncio, at St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, to celebrate the Eucharist on the occasion of the first anniversary of the pastoral visit of His Holiness to our country, which took place on 17th and 18th April 2010. His Excellency Dr George Abela, President of the Republic has also joined us for the occasion.
Before the beginning of the celebration, we viewed a short film clip of the principal highlights of the Apostolic Visit. In this way, we experienced a renewed joy and bestowal of graces, as once again, we recalled the message which you conveyed to us during those memorable days.
Just as we did during the time you spent among us, we declare our full communion and filial obedience to you, Vicar of Christ.
We wish to embrace your teachings with respect to the new evangelization of our islands; may we transmit our faith in our society with a renewed vigour.
We unite ourselves with you in prayer and ask you once again, to bless our country and the Church in Malta and Gozo.
+ PAUL CREMONA
Archbishop of Malta
Message by the Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr Tommaso Caputo:
Your Excellency Doctor George Abela, President of the Republic, Your Grace Archbishop Cremona, Archbishop Emeritus Mercieca, Bishop Depasquale, Bishop Micallef, Distinguished Authorities,
It is with a deep sense of gratitude to God that we are gathered here, this evening, on the first anniversary of the Pastoral Visit to Malta of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
I greet the religious and the laity, as well as the concelebrating priests, who despite other pastoral duties, especially in this intense period of Lent, have come to bear witness to their attachment to the Holy Father.
It is my duty, as the Representative of Pope Benedict XVI, to express the gratitude of the Holy Father and of the Holy See for the excellent preparation for the Pope’s pastoral visit, as well as for the marvelous welcome afforded by the people of Malta and Gozo to the Vicar of Christ. We will continue to cherish the deep spiritual experience when we opened our hearts to the Successor of St Peter, when we listened to his words at the Airport, at Rabat, Floriana and at the Valletta Waterfront in his unforgettable encounter with the youth of Malta and Gozo. Like the Maltese of the year 60 who welcomed the Apostle of the Gentiles shipwrecked on the shores of Malta, 1950 years later, the inhabitants of this beloved and “blessed land” have embraced the successor of the Prince of the Apostles.
Dear Archbishop Cremona, as Head of the Maltese Episcopal Conference, I thank you, and your brother bishops for your cooperation in the months leading to the Papal visit, as well as for the success of this great event. I also take the opportunity of publicly expressing my gratitude to the Highest Maltese Authorities ant to the Organizing Committee – composed of members from both Church and State – for their meticulous work, and the dedication of a large number of volunteers.
The visit to Malta filled the Holy Father with Christian joy and immense consolation. Pope Benedict, who is often informed on the Church in Malta and Gozo, still recalls his visit with satisfaction. I am informed that he has expressed these sentiments various times to his collaborators, in particular to Monsignor Alfred Xuereb, who works so closely to His Holiness.
May the spiritual enthusiasm we experienced, last year, as we welcomed Pope Benedict XVI, continue to be with us! May that enthusiasm inspire us to choose Jesus Christ and his teaching in all circumstances!
+ TOMMASO CAPUTO
Titular Archbishop of Otricoli
Apostolic Nuncio in Malta
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