Pope spends birthday in the Vatican, prepares for Malta
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Just one day before his first Apostolic Journey for 2010, Pope Benedict XVI is celebrating his 83rd birthday today. This afternoon he will spend some time resting as the final preparations are being made for his whirlwind trip to the Mediterranean island of Malta.

The Holy Father will spend his birthday in the Vatican, before an event-filled weekend in Malta.

Besides separate morning audiences with Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, who is the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, five Brazilian bishops finishing up their “ad Limina” visit and 120 members of the U.S.-based Papal Foundation, no specific plans for the day have been made public.

In the meantime, the island of Malta is preparing for the Pope’s arrival.

He will only be in the island country for a little over 26 hours, beginning with his arrival on Saturday afternoon. Despite the short duration of his trip, the Pope has three major engagements in addition to arrival and departure ceremonies. The Holy Father is expected to be joined by tens of thousands of Maltese at his major events. In anticipation of the crowds, stages have been prepared for Mass in the main "Granaries" square of Floriana and on the capital city of Valleta's waterfront for a meeting with the youth.

The other major stop, is a visit to the Cave of St. Paul in Rabat, thought to have been where the saint preached when he was shipwrecked on the island 1,950 years ago.

Archbishop Paul Cremona of Malta made the final inspections of the venues on Tuesday and everything appears to be in order. Local media has reported that security has been increased for the occasion after plans were announced in the British media of possible demonstrations against the papal visit.

Vatican insiders say that the Pope may also make time during his visit to meet with victims of sexual abuse by priests. Holy See spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, speaking to journalists this week at a press conference about the trip, said that while he couldn’t confirm such a meeting, the possibility couldn’t be excluded.

The possible encounter would follow this week's meeting between Archbishop Cremona and victims, during which an audience with the Pope was requested.

The Holy Father will return from his first trip to Malta on Sunday afternoon, and the following day will mark the milestone of the fifth anniversary of his pontificate.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 29, 2015

Thursday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 4:1-20


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 4:1-20