Schedule of Pope Francis' Visit to Malta this Weekend and Some Interesting Facts about the Country

 Malta eagerly awaits the arrival of Pope Francis on April 2nd.
This will be the 36th Apostolic Journey of Pope Francis, a two-day journey taking place Saturday and Sunday. Welcoming and faith are the themes of this visit “in the footsteps of St Paul.” 
It is the third time in its history that a Pope has visited the country. St John Paul II, came to the Republic of Malta in 1990 and 2001; and Benedict XVI, made the trip in 2010. 
The journey was originally planned for May 2020, but was postponed because of the pandemic.
 Pope Francis described Malta, as a “luminous land,”  at last Wednesday’s General Audience, which is committed to “welcoming so many brothers and sisters seeking refuge.” The journey's logo, depicts hands outstretched towards others emerging from the boat on which St Paul was shipwrecked on the island more than two thousand years ago, on his way to Rome. “an opportunity to go to the wellsprings of the proclamation of the Gospel,” and for the Pope, “to know at first hand a Christian community with a lively history stretching back thousands of years.” The country has 408,000 baptised Christians, 85% of the total population of 478,000, is Catholic, in the island chain of Malta, Gozo and other smaller islands.
Pope Francis will land at Malta's international airport on Saturday, April 2nd, at around 10am and, after the welcome, will head to the Grand Master's Palace in Valletta. It was built in 1571. There Pope Francis will meet the President of the Republic of Malta, George William Vella, and then Prime Minister, Robert Abela, who has just been re-elected. 
The speech in the Great Council Hall to the Maltese authorities and the diplomatic corps will close the first part of the day which, after a stop at the Apostolic Nunciature, will continue with a visit to the Marian shrine of Ta' Pinu on the “sister island” of Gozo.
 At Malta's most important place of pilgrimage, the Pope will preside over a prayer meeting with the faithful, Maltese Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, who will be in the papal retinue, along with Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, and Bishop Anton Teuma of Gozo.
On Sunday the 3rd of April the Pope will meet privately with the Jesuits of Malta, and then, he will go to the Grotto of St Paul in Rabat. It was there, according to tradition, that the Apostle Paul landed after being shipwrecked in 60 A.D. The Holy Father, will say a prayer to St Paul and greet the 14 religious leaders who will be present, as well as a number of sick assisted by the Caritas organization. The Piazzale dei Granai in Floriana will later host the Holy Mass celebrated by the Pope at 10.15, followed by the recitation of the Angelus.
“They showed us unusual kindness” is the motto of this 36th apostolic journey of Francis, which will conclude at around 6:15 pm with a visit to the "John XXIII Peace Lab" Migrant Centre in Hal Far, which hosts people from Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan. About 200 migrants will meet the Pope in the structure's open-air theatre. The farewell ceremony at the airport is scheduled to take place at 6:15 pm, with the return to Rome expected at 7:40 pm. Edited from Vatican News