Some people were still clueless about the date when the Pope will be visiting Malta, despite the heavy publicity hitting the media in the past weeks.

Launching a series of promotional spots which will be broadcast on all local television stations, the Archbishop's Curia spokesman said he still met people who were unaware of the exact date of the visit.

Therefore, one of the spots' two aims was to remind the public of Pope Benedict XVI's arrival on April 17 and departure the next day.

The other aim is to encourage people to take part in the activities organised during the visit, to welcome the pontiff the same way as Saint Paul when he was shipwrecked on the island 1,950 years ago.

One promotional spot is addressed by President George Abela, another by Archbishop Paul Cremona, and the other six are aimed at different sectors of society, ranging from children to the elderly.

The launch took place at the coordination office at the Granaries in Floriana, where a call centre has also been set up to offer information to the public.

Introducing the service, organising committee chairman Charles Bonello said anyone who had any questions related to the Pope's visit could simply call for assistance.

Apart from serving as a one-stop-shop for information, the office also houses government and Curia employees who are working on the ongoing logistical organisations for the visit in three weeks' time.

Mr Bonello said preparations were gaining momentum in the run-up to the event. Loose ends were being tied up and he conceded these took up much more time than the bulk of the organisation.

The office is also working on issuing accreditation to 300 local and foreign journalists and sending invitations to guests.

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