Italian President Sends Welcome Message to Pope

Expresses Certainty That Francis’ Message of Hope Has ‘Touched So Many Hearts’

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On Pope Francis’ return flight from Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay — marking Pope Francis’ ninth international apostolic trip – the Pope sent messages of peace, one of which was honored with a warm presidential response.

As is customary for any apostolic visit, the Holy Father sent telegrams to the nations which his flight would pass, including Bolivia, Brazil, Morocco, Capo Verde, Spain and Italy. 

Throughout his messages, the Pope expressed his affection and closeness to the nations’ peoples and sending many blessings.

In the Pope’s message to Italy’s president, Francis spoke on how, during his Apostolic Visit, he was able to meet with many believers. Before giving his ‘affectionate’ blessing to the people of Italy, the Holy Father also sent many warm greetings and assured the president of his special prayers for the good, the peace and the prosperity of the nation.

After receiving Francis’ telegram, President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, sent to His Holiness Francis the following message: «Your Holiness, on behalf of myself and all the Italian people, I would like to offer the warmest welcome back returning from his apostolic visit to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay,” reported the Quirinale.

“I am confident that your strong message of hope has touched the hearts of many faithful who have warmly welcomed you in their countries. I also trust that the people of Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay, countries that Italy always looks at with affection and sympathy, will find in his words reason for confidence in the future and encouragement to boost dialogue and cooperation at the regional level.” The President’s message concluded, expressing his most affectionate thoughts.

The A330 Alitalia plane carrying the Holy Father took off from Paraguay’s Silvio Pettirossi International Airport in Asuncion at 7 p.m. local time on Sunday and arrived at Rome’s Ciampino Airport shortly before 2 p.m. local time today.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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