Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am grateful for Archbishop Scicluna’s kind words on your behalf, but I am really
the one who should be thanking you! Thank you very much!
I would like to express my gratitude to the President of the Republic and the civil
authorities, to my brother Bishops, to you, dear priests, men and women religious,
and to all the citizens and faithful of Malta and Gozo for your warm and affectionate
welcome. This evening, I will meet some of our migrant brothers and sisters, and
then it will be time to return to Rome. I will bring back many memories of the
events and conversations of these days. Above all, I will remember many of your
faces, as well as the luminous face of Malta and the many kind gestures! I thank all
those who worked so hard to prepare for this visit, and I cordially greet our
brothers and sisters of the different Christian denominations and religions whom I
have met in these days. I ask all of you to pray for me, as I will for you. Let us pray
for one another.
These islands breathe a sense of the People of God. May you continue to do so,
mindful that faith grows in joy and is strengthened in giving. Forge further links in
the chain of holiness that has led so many Maltese to devote their lives with
enthusiasm to God and to others. I think, for example, of Dun Ġorġ Preca,
canonized fifteen years ago. Finally, I would like to say a word to the young, who
are your future. Dear young friends, I want to share with you the most beautiful
thing in life. Do you know what it is? It is the joy of giving ourselves completely in
love, which makes us free. That joy has a name: it is Jesus. I wish you the beauty
of falling in love with Jesus, who is the God of mercy – we heard this in today’s
Gospel – and who believes in you, dreams with you, loves your lives and will never
disappoint you. Keep going forward always with Jesus, with your family and with
the People of God; do not forget your roots. Speak with your elders, speak with
your grandparents, speak with elderly people!
May the Lord accompany you, and Our Lady keep you. Let us now pray to her for
peace, as we think of the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in war-torn Ukraine,
which continues to be bombarded in the sacrilegious war. May we be tireless in
praying and in offering assistance to those who suffer. Peace be with you!