On Sunday 3rd April 2022, a group of Form 4 (Year 10) students at St. Margaret’s College Secondary School Verdala, were offered the opportunity to participate in the Pope’s Holy Mass celebration held at the Granaries in Floriana, Malta. Students were accompanied by the Senior Religion teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc and LSE Mr Robert Axisa. Due to Covid-19 pandemic health restrictions, participating students had to be vaccinated and wear face mask all the time.

St. Margaret College students could say ‘We were there experiencing the Maltese fervour and the cheering and waving Vatican flags as Pope Francis entered the square in the pope mobile’.

Pope Francis said that the word “irredeemable” does not exist for God, whose mercy is inexhaustible. Speaking in front of a crowd of thousands of people, the pope urged Maltese Catholics to be “tireless witnesses” of God’s mercy. Pope Francis underlined that God always forgives and provides a chance for a fresh start to those who approach his mercy. Pope Francis said in his homily “There is no sin or failure that we can bring before him that cannot become the opportunity for starting to live a new and different life under the banner of mercy,” The Pope added “This is the Lord Jesus. We truly know him when we experience his forgiveness, and when … we discover that God comes to us through our inner woundedness. That is indeed where the Lord loves to make himself known.”

The live-streamed Mass was the largest public gathering during the pope’s two-day trip to Malta on April 2-3 and about 20,000 people were present in the square and surrounding area for the Mass.

St Margaret College participating students expressed the following words following this unique event experience in their lives:

“It was a unique spiritual experience for me which I will never forget” by student Bach Sakka Fiorini;

“Surely it was an opportunity for me to strengthen my Christian faith in Christ Jesus” by student Sheyzen Grima.

“I was touched by the Pope’s Angelus message: “Dear young friends, I want to share with you the most beautiful thing in life. Do you know what it is? It is the joy of giving ourselves completely in love, which makes us free. That joy has a name: it is Jesus”” by student Yanique Gambin;

“I loved the Pope’s words:“Speak with your elders, speak with your grandparents, speak with elderly people!””by student Axelkees Massa;

I reflected a lot about the Pope’s words: When “we open our hearts” to God “in truth, he can work wonders in us.”” by student Jamie Bugeja;

“I can say that I was there to meet with the Vicar of Christ in the person of Pope Francis” by student Denzel Portelli;

“Participating in the Pope’s Holy Mass was an occasion for me to witness the joy of the Maltese Christian community and to renew my faith in Jesus” by student Andrew Cole.

After the Holy Mass celebration, Pope Francis went to meet with migrants at the John XXIII Peace Lab, an immigration reception centre in Hal Far and then he departed by plane on Air Malta on Sunday evening.

Senior Religion teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc said: “It is important that our school students experience such a unique spiritual event in their lives and I am sure that this event will remain a mark in their hearts and memory.”

After the Pope’s Holy Mass celebration, students enjoyed lunch together with their teacher and LSE. The feedback from the participating students and their parents was very positive.