Pope Francis arrived in Italy this afternoon at 1:37 pm, local time, from his Apostolic Visit to Latin America. The Alitalia flight landed at Rome’s Ciampino airport, ending the Holy Father’s 9th trip in which he visited Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.
During the flight, the Holy Father spoke with the journalists. It is expected to be published this evening.
The Pope’s flight departed from Asuncion’s Silvio Pettirossi at 7:37pm. The flight, which lasted 12 hours and 45 minutes, flew over Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil, Cabo Verde, the Canary Islands, Morroco and Spain.
Upon landing, the Holy Father made his customary visit to the Rome’s Basilica of Saint Mary Major to give thanks to the Blessed Mother for his visit. The Pope spent several minutes in prayer in front of the image of Salus Populi Romani (Protectoress of the Roman People). According to legend, the image one of several paintings believed to have been painted by Saint Luke.
Following his visit to the Basilica, the Pope returned to the Vatican. Pope Francis’ next apostolic trip will be to Cuba and the United States from September 19th – 28th. (J.A.E.)