A few moments before Pope Francis boarded plane for Malta A few moments before Pope Francis boarded plane for Malta 

Ukrainian refugees bid farewell to Pope as he departs for Malta

Pope Francis is traveling to the Mediterranean island of Malta for a two-day visit focused on evangelization and the need to welcome, promote, protect and integrate migrants and refugees.

By Linda Bordoni

The Papal ITA Airways plane carrying Pope Francis, a number of members of the Curia, and 74 journalists took off from Rome’s Fiumicino airport at about 8.30 am on Saturday morning.

This Apostolic Journey to Malta represents the Pope’s 36th visit abroad and is his first journey of 2022. It is a visit twice postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Malta is Europe’s most southern country and holds a strategic position in the Mediterranean Sea. Of its 475,000 inhabitants, 90% profess to be Catholic.

Pope Francis will return to the Vatican on Sunday evening.

As he always does before embarking on an Apostolic Visit, he prayed before the beloved icon of Salus Popoli Romani in Rome’s Basilica of Saint Mary Major entrusting his journey to Our Lady.

Refugees from Ukraine bid the Pope farewell

Early Saturday morning, before leaving Casa Santa Marta, the Pope greeted some refugee families from Ukraine hosted by the Community of Sant'Egidio, together with the Papal Almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski.

Among those present to wish the Pope a safe and fruitful journey, was a young mother with two little girls, ages 5 and 7, who arrived in Italy from Lviv about 20 days ago. Since their arrival in Rome, one of the children has been able to undergo cardiological surgery and is now under medical supervision.

There were also two other mothers and their 4 children, aged between 10 and 17 years old, currently hosted in an apartment offered by an Italian woman. They too are refugees, having fled the Ukrainian city of Ternopil just over 20 days ago.

The third family on hand to greet the Pope arrived in Rome three days ago, passing through Poland. The mother, father and three children fled Kyiv together with the elderly grandmother. They too have found welcome in a house offered by an Italian woman for the reception of refugees.

Ukrainian refugees bid farewell to Pope Francis
Ukrainian refugees bid farewell to Pope Francis
02 April 2022, 08:32