By Melissa Butz
The pontiff will focus on migration during his trip to the Mediterranean island.
The first papal overseas trip has been confirmed for 2020.
It is to take place on Pentecost and it has a very clear mission: migrants.
On May 31, Pope Francis will visit Malta. He will also go to Gozo, one of the 21 islands making up the Maltese Archipelago.
It is among the places most-affected by the migrant and refugee crisis.
In September, Pope Francis met in the Vatican with the president of the country, George Vella.
Both talked about the crisis of migration, poverty and the future of young people in Africa. These points were especially interesting to the pontiff and will surely be a part of his agenda on the island.
In addition, at the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in January, Pope Francis referred to the welcome given to St. Paul in the Bible.
“Once in Malta, they experience the hospitality of the island’s inhabitants, their kindness and humanity,” he said.
This phrase from Acts 28:2 is the motto for the trip: “They showed us unusual kindness.”
The logo ties in as well, with hands as a sign of welcoming the neighbor and the boat recalling the shipwreck of St. Paul in Malta.
Within the last year, the island showed great prominence for the Holy See.
In December, the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls exposed an impressive manger scene that combined the identity of Malta with the birth of Jesus.
It has been more than 10 years since a pope visited the small Mediterranean island.
Pope John Paul II visited in May 1990 and Benedict XVI in April 2010.
The Holy Father’s schedule for his visit will be published within the coming months.