39 pilgrims from Victoria & Sannat to visit Assisi and Rome

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39 pilgrims from Victoria & Sannat to visit Assisi and RomeThis coming Tuesday, a group of 39 pilgrims from Gozo’s St George’s Parish and that of St Margaret V.M. in Sannat, accompanied by the two respective Archpriests, will leave to Rome for a Pilgrimage organised on the occasion of the Universal Year of Faith.

The pilgrimage, from June the 4th to the 9th, will visit Assisi and Rome, where the group will renew their faith on Peter’s tomb.

The St George’s Parish said that it has “a strong bond with the Vicar of Christ, since St George’s Basilica is aggregated to St John Lateran, the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, a ‘title’ Pope Francis prefers to use.”

During the last two pontificates the St George’s Parish said it “has been blessed to have one of the priests from its presbyterium, Mgr Alfred Xuereb, so close to the Holy Father. Dun Alfred, as we all know him, has been serving at the Holy See since 1995, but in 2000, Blessed John Paul II appointed him an official of Prefecture of the Papal Household.”

He became closer to the Vicar of Christ when Benedict XVI, in 2007, made him his second private secretary. Since last April, when Cardinal Bergoglio was elected as Pope Francis, he serves as the Pope’s personal secretary, thus becoming the closest person to the Holy Father in private affairs.

Last Sunday, solemnity of the Blessed Trinity, Pope Francis visited the parish of Sts Elizabeth and Zachariah at Prima Porta, where he celebrated Mass and delivered the first Holy Communion to the children of that parish in one of the diocese’s peripheries. After the parish priest’s welcome message, Pope Francis replied with a few words of thanks and then went on to say: “Here there are [two] priests who you know well, these are the Pope’s two secretaries… And these two work very well. But one of them, Fr Alfred, today celebrates the anniversary of his priestly ordination: 29 years! An applause! Let us pray for him and ask for at least 29 more years.”

Mgr Xuereb is usually present for the Holy Father’s daily morning Mass inside Casa Santa Marta, were they both reside. Fr Simon Mario Cachia, a priest from St Geroge’s parish who serves at St Ignatius of Antioch parish in Rome, last Saturday concelebrated with the Pope at his morning Mass. He was accompanied by Fr Richard N. Farrugia, from Xaghra, who also serves in the same parish.

Last July, Fr Richard preached the Triduum in honour of St George. Both young priests stayed for breakfast with the Pope. As they sat at the table, Fr Simon told Pope Francis, “Your Holiness, we have something in common: St George… he is also the Patron Saint of my parish, of your secretary and of our diocese.” Here the Pope spoke about St George and his importance in the Martyrology of the Church.

Let us remain in communion with Peter – Pope Francis – and pray for him, especially this Sunday, when the whole Catholic world will join in an hour of Eucharistic Adoration between 5.00pm and 6.00pm, which will be led by His Holiness at St Peter’s Basilica.

Photograph – Pope Francis and Mgr Xuereb at a recent General Audience.

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