Scripture Reference: Acts 27:39-44 & 28:1-10 
Malta, an island 58 miles south of Sicily, was colonized by the Phoenecians, maritime merchants of the ancient world. Rome took possession of Malta after defeating the Phoenician colony of Carthage in North Africa. When the Roman Empire divided, the island became part of the Eastern Empire, and remained under Byzantine control until 870, when it was taken by the Arabs. It passed from Arab to Norman, to French, to Spanish control. In 1530, Malta was granted to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, who governed it until the 19th century, when it became part of the British Empire.

 In 1964, it became an independent republic and member of the United Nations. The Church in Malta was founded by St. Paul, c. AD 60, who consecrated its first bishop, St. Publius (Acts 28:6-8). Though under Arab control the Church was temporarily suppressed, the episcopal succession was restored and has continued to the present, so that, according to Maltese tradition, theirs is the only existing Apostolic see besides Rome. On his visit there, the Holy Father is to beatify Venerable George Preca, Adeodata Pisani, Nazju Falzon. Malta’s population is 92% Catholic.

 

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