“Each is unique just like each one of us. Every migrant is a person with dignity, with roots, with a culture. Each of them is the bearer of a wealth infinitely greater than the problems they bring,” he said.
“Certainly, welcoming them must be organized – this is true – and supervised; and first, long before, it must be planned together, at an international level,” Pope Francis added.
He said that migration is “a sign of our times” and it “should be read and interpreted as such.”
Reflecting on his first apostolic journey of 2022, the pope said that he made the trip to Malta “above all” as an act of gratitude to God and to confirm the Maltese people in the faith.
“Malta is the key-place from the perspective of evangelization,” he said. “From Malta and from Gozo, the country’s two dioceses, many priests and religious, but even lay faithful, left to bring their Christian witness all over the world.”
(Story continues below)
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“Nevertheless, the wind of secularism, of a globalized pseudo culture based on consumerism, neocapitalism and relativism, blows there as well. Therefore, it is time for the new evangelization there too,” he added.
The pope described his time of prayer in Malta’s Grotto of Saint Paul as like “drawing from the spring so that the Gospel might flow through Malta with the freshness of its origins and revive its great heritage of popular religiosity.”
He added that when he visited the country’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu, he heard “the heart of the Maltese people beat.”
“Mary helps us to revive the flame of faith by drawing from the Holy Spirit’s flame that attracts generation after generation to the joyful proclamation of the Gospel, for the joy of the Church is to evangelize,” Pope Francis said.
This story was updated on April 6 to include comments from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.