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At Rabat: Prayer to Saint Paul

The Holy Father’s prayer in the Grotto

 The Holy Father’s prayer  in the Grotto   ING-014
08 April 2022

On Sunday morning, 3 April, Pope Francis began the second and last day of his Apostolic Journey to Malta by visiting the Grotto of Saint Paul in Rabat. Inside the Basilica dedicated to the Apostle of the Gentiles, the Holy Father spent a quiet moment of recollection and lit a candle, before reciting the following prayer.

God of mercy,

in your wondrous providence

you wished the Apostle Paul

to proclaim your love to the inhabitants of Malta,

who did not yet know you.

He preached your word to them

and he healed their infirmities.

Saved from shipwreck,

Saint Paul and his fellow travelers

found here to welcome them

pagan people of kindly heart,

who treated them with rare humanity,

recognizing that they were in need

of shelter, security and assistance.

No one knew their names,

their place of birth or their social status;

they knew only one thing:

that these were people in need of help.

There was no time for discussions,

for judgements, analyses and calculations:

it was the time to lend a helping hand:

they left their jobs, and did exactly that.

They lit a great fire,

to dry them and warm them.

They welcomed them with open hearts

And, together with Publius,

first in government and in mercy,

they gave them shelter.

Good Father,

grant us the grace of a kindly heart

that beats with love for our brothers and sisters.

Help us to recognize from afar those in need,

struggling amidst the waves of the sea,

dashed against the reefs of unknown shores.

Grant that our compassion

be more than empty words,

but instead light a bonfire of welcome,

that can dispel the memory of the tempest,

warm hearts and bring them together:

the fireplace of a house built upon rock,

the one family of your children,

sisters and brothers all.

You love them without distinction

and you desire that they may be one

with your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord,

through the power of the fire sent from heaven,

your Holy Spirit,

who burns away all enmity and
in the darkness of night lights the way

to your kingdom of love and peace.