Bishop hails servicemen and women as a 'national treasure'

Gozo Bishop Mario Grech urges all Armed Forces of Malta personnel to “continue to be guardians of mankind, most of all the weak, a shield for whoever has his fundamental rights at risk” 

Bishop Mario Grech inspects personnel upon arrival at the AFM patrol boat base at Haywharf
Bishop Mario Grech inspects personnel upon arrival at the AFM patrol boat base at Haywharf

Gozo Bishop Mario Grech had words of encouragement and high praise for AFM personnel after meeting Maltese servicemen and women on a day-long tour of many of its units.

In an open letter to “our soldiers,” Grech hailed what he described as their genuine enthusiasm and motivation, calling them a “national treasure.”

Grech had visited the various regiments which make up the AFM on Thursday and said his lasting memory of the visit would be the earnest faces of the troops. “Up till yesterday, I associated soldiers with combat, but after this meeting with the Armed Forces I changed my opinion. It’s true that the Army trains for the eventuality of protecting security both in our country and abroad; but I noted that much of the soldiers’ work is aimed at enforcing the law and helping those who find themselves in danger.”

The bishop said he was moved when soldiers explained the personal risks to life and limb involved in fulfilling their role. “It cannot be that these soldiers risk coming face to face with death simply because they receive a paycheque at the end of the month. They risk all because they are people of character who have high ideals. People like this truly make us proud.”

At the AFM patrol boat base at Haywharf, Grech had stopped in front of a memorial commemorating soldiers and police officers killed in an explosion on a patrol boat. “I said a silent prayer for them and remembered also all deceased members of the armed forces. When, at the end of this visit, I found myself at the chapel in Hal Far, I entrusted all that I had seen and heard during that day to Jesus’ protection.”

The soldiers, sailors and airmen of the AFM are not only a military force, he said, but a “human and humanizing power.”

“Underneath the uniform there are men and women endowed with great humanity. They are upright, serious and disciplined, but have a heart that feels, loves and helps.”

Bishop Grech urged all AFM personnel to “continue to be guardians of mankind, most of all the weak, a shield for whoever has his fundamental rights at risk” and to be “a tool to break down the walls which separate us and build bridges between people.”

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