Spokesman: Pope's Visit an Extraordinary Experience of Enthusiasm

Fr. Lombardi Briefs Journalists on Pope’s Arrival

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During a press conference held last night at the World Youth Day Media Center, Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, said the Pope was very happy for the way Rio and Brazil expressed their joy.

Father Lombardi spoke regarding the Pope’s trip, from the airport to Guanabara Palace where throngs of people surrounded the papal motorcade. «The impression was very good. It was an extraordinary experience of enthusiasm of both youth and the people,» he said.

The secretary of the Pope – Fr. Lombardi said – «told me that the Pope was always smiling and very happy,» and even confided that the secretary was afraid at times. Especially when the motorcade took a wrong turn «and there was a moment of difficulty.» The concern «is that enthusiasm could be so great that it would be difficult to control,» but there was no fear nor concern, said Lombardi.

The last minute decision of transporting the Pope by helicopter was a decision made by Brazilian authorities due to demonstrations being held outside of Guanabara Palace.

However, he assured that the Pope’s trip «was wonderful and very calm.» During his flight to Rio, the Holy Father met with journalists on the flight in a very personal and friendly meeting, which dealt mainly with two points.

«The pope explained his perspective on the WYD» which is to see the youth not as something separate, but young people should always be seen in a broader context of society.» And in this context the Pope speaks of the young and the elderly. «Young people have the strength and the elderly have wisdom. We must separate the various parts of society, but we need both. Young people have to be viewed in the totality of society, the Pope told journalists.

The second point during his address to journalists, said the Vatican spokesman, was against the “disposable” culture and in favor of a culture of inclusion and gathering, particularly regarding the lack of jobs for young people and the need for its full development.

The Holy Father asked for help from the journalists in spreading his message, saying that without journalists his mission would be partial, the Papal spokesman confirmed.

Father Lombardi said that «the trip was very calm but quite active. The Pope has a lot of energy. He hardly ever rests. It’s incredible.»

Touching upon the points made by Pope Francis’ address to the President at Guanabara Palace, Father Federico Lombardi stated the fact that the Pope relayed his concern for Brazil and for young people. It was a speech directed to young Brazilians and Latin Americans.

Father Lombardi also spoke on the private meeting that took place in Guanabara Palace and said that «the President was very impressed by the Pope’s speech in Lampedusa,» where Pope Francis spoke strongly on the plight of refugees. Other points spoken between the Holy Father and President Rouseff were: the cultural aspect of the upcoming WYD event, the inclusion of youth in labor, and the President’s desire that the Apostolic visit will encourage the Catholic faith in Brazil.

Responding to a journalist’s question regarding the Holy Father’s upcoming visit to Aparecida, Fr. Lombardi said that the Pope has a great devotion to Mary and it was exactly his first wish when he confirmed his trip to Rio de Janeiro. “He expressly told the program organizers to add a visit to Aparecida on the agenda. He replaced one of the two days of rest which were included in Benedict XVI’s initial program and added this visit to Aparecida,” the director of the Holy See Press Office said.

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Thácio Siqueira

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