Pope Francis has sent a personal, handwritten letter to a Maltese priest who turned 90 years old this week.
In a note written on 3rd April, Pope Francis sent Fr Dionysus Mintoff, the brother of Dom Mintoff, birthday wishes and thanked him for his important work: establishing a peace centre and shelter for migrants in Malta.
“Dear father, I have just found out that the day before yesterday you turned 90! I send you my Best Wishes!” the Pope wrote.
The Vatican leader then went on to ask the priest to pray for him and thanked him for devoting his life as a Franciscan priest.
He signed it off by wishing him a Happy Easter, finishing with: “fraternally yours, Francesco”.
Fr Mintoff established the Pope John XIII Peace Laboratory in 1971. The lab is a shelter for refugees and offers an inclusive space for dialogue for people of different backgrounds and faiths. Its headquarters in Ħal Far, a place that saw intensive air raids during World War 2.
It is no secret that the priest wanted to personally show Pope Francis around the islands during the Apostolic Visit that was set to take place in May 2020. While it was cancelled, hopefully, the pair will meet in Malta once the health crisis subsides.
Until then, we’re sure Mintoff is deeply appreciative of the personal note.
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