In light of the Pope Benedict's upcoming trip to the island of Malta this month, Cardinal Bertone wrote to the Maltese faithful on behalf of the Holy Father, saying that “His holiness asks you to pray that his Visit will be a time of spiritual renewal for the whole church.”
The Apostolic Visit to the Maltese Islands will take place April 17 to April 18 on the occasion of the 1,950th anniversary of the shipwreck of St. Paul.
Speaking to the predominately Catholic nation, Cardinal Bertone wrote on April 12 that “Malta has remained staunchly faithful to Christ over many centuries, and has done much to defend the faith, both at home and abroad.”
“You may be proud of your Christian heritage, proud of the witness of many generations of Maltese Catholics who have lived out their faith with exemplary devotion, and proud of the apostolic fervor with which countless men and women from your islands have engaged in missionary activity, bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to distant shores,” the cardinal wrote.
“The Holy Father knows how much you are attached to your great heritage, and he invites you to deepen this attachment as a living reality and as a truth that is always relevant, notwithstanding the fact that, in today’s society, this carries the risk of being opposed, ignored or forgotten.”
“Malta speaks with assurance of the need to defend the sanctity of marriage, the centrality of the family for a healthy society, and the need to protect the dignity of human life from conception to natural death,” he added. “Malta knows how to care for the weaker and more vulnerable members of society, including the unborn, not least of all because she places such value on family life.”
Cardinal Bertone continued to write that the Holy Father “commends all of you to the intercession of an outstanding Maltese priest, Saint Ġorġ Preca, to whom, in a special way, he entrusts his forthcoming Visit.”
“And finally,” said the prelate, “he asks the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, venerated with particular devotion at your National Shrine of Ta’ Pinu, to look down in love upon all the people of Malta and Gozo and to intercede for them with the One she was privileged to bear in her womb, the Saviour of the Word.”
“With these sentiments, His Holiness cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing to all the people of Malta and Gozo, as a pledge of joy and peace in the Risen Lord.”
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