As now has become tradition, Pope Francis on Saturday evening, 4 July, the eve of his departure, went to the Basilica of St Mary Major to entrust his Apostolic Visit to Latin America to Our Lady. The Pope laid flowers with the colours of the flags of the three countries which he is visiting, underneath the image of Salus Populi Romani, where he remained in prayer for 20 minutes.
The next morning at 8 am, before leaving for Fiumicino Airport, Francis was greeted by eight homeless men and women who live near St Peter's and often use the bathroom and shower services provided in the colonnade. The encounter took place in the presence of the Papal Almoner, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski. At the end of their meeting, the Holy Father blessed the men and women who had come to greet him.
After departing from Rome, the Pope meet with the 75 journalists who are traveling him. Fr Lombardi underlined the high number of accreditation requests — more than 100 — which the Holy See had received and he informed the Pontiff of the thousands of media journalists who are following the visit in the five cities which the Pope will visit: Quito, Guayaquil, La Paz, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Asunción. For his part, Francis thanked the journalists for the “very challenging” work which awaits them, underlining that in these eight days “covering the things that occur” will serve to “do much good”. Finally, he wished them a good trip and personally greeted all those present.
St. Peter’s Square
Jan. 18, 2019
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