Pope Francis to visit in December

The exact dates and itinerary have not yet been confirmed

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

Pope Francis’s visit to Malta will happen in the first week of December but the dates and itinerary are not yet confirmed, MaltaToday has learnt.

The pontiff will be visiting Malta as part of a tour that includes Cyprus and Greece.

Sources close to the discussions said the exact dates are still being hammered out with anything between 4 and 7 December being a possibility.

Cypriot officials had confirmed earlier this month that the Pope will visit the island on 2 and 3 December. Last week, In-Nazzjon reported that the Pope will come to Malta on the 4 and 5 December after visiting Cyprus.

It remains unclear whether the Pope will be spending a night in Malta or whether his will just be a one-day trip.

During the pontifical mass yesterday to mark Malta’s Independence Day, Archbishop Charles Scicluna made no reference to the papal visit.

The Pope visited Slovakia and made a brief stopover in Hungary earlier this month.

Pope Francis had to visit Malta in May last year but the trip was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The visit had included a stopover in Gozo.

Pope Francis will be the third pontiff to visit Malta after St John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The first-ever papal visit took place in 1990 when Pope St John Paul II was given a rousing welcome. He visited again in 2001 when he beatified Dun Gorg Preca, Sr Adeodata Pisani and cleric Nazju Falzon during a ceremony on the Granaries in Floriana. Preca was made Malta’s first saint in 2007.

The last papal visit took place in 2010 when Pope Benedict XVI visited the island at the height of the clerical sex abuse scandal. The pope had even held a private audience with the Maltese victims of priestly sex abuse.