PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY
VISIT TO THE GROTTO OF SAINT PAUL
I wish to greet you with Saint Paul’s words: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 1:6).
As the year dedicated to the great Apostle comes to its end, it is most fitting that, as Special Representative of His Holiness Pope Benedict the Sixteenth, I meet you for the first time, beloved people of Malta, here at Saint Paul’s Grotto in Rabat. With joy I bring you His Holiness’ apostolic prayerful wishes and blessing.
A few moments ago, I had the privilege of descending into the Grotto, - a place venerated for many centuries and which the Knights of St John promoted as a place of pilgrimage. Like our beloved Pope John Paul II, I have been able to meditate at that site where Tradition says Saint Paul lived, just outside the walls of the chief city of Melita.
How fitting it is that we gather where Paul celebrated the Eucharist with the first Christian community of Malta, and where he preached during his three months stay in this country.
Dear people of Rabat and of this country, you are successors of Paul’s converts, my message to you is that you continue in their love and faithfulness to Christ’s Eucharist and Word.
In the name of Jesus Christ: pay heed to God’s Word, especially as proclaimed on Sunday. Let it guide you in your decisions and inspire the life of your families.
Devoutly participate in the Eucharist. In this way you will receive evermore Christ’s spirit and his love, enabling you to grow in ecclesial communion and in your love for God and neighbour, according to the teaching of Paul: “There is one bread, and so we, though many, are one single body, for we all share in the one bread” (1 Cor 10:17).
I greet you with much affection, while bearing profound admiration for your historic faithfulness of the Gospel: may Almighty God bless you, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!
Cardinal Antonelli in St Paul's Grotto
Cardinal Antonelli during a moment of prayer in St Paul's Grotto