Shortly after beginning his trip from Rome to Havana, the Pope greeted the 76 journalists accompanying him on the flight. As indicated by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., the media coverage of this trip will be more intense than usual. In a very cordial atmosphere, the Holy Father enquired about the journalists’ families and received various edible gifts, including dulce de leche and an empanada, a typical Argentinian pastry, that he offered to all those present.
“Thank you for the welcome,” he said. “I wish you a good journey. If I am not mistaken, I think this is the longest trip I have made. … Fr. Lombardi mentioned peace. Today’s world thirsts for peace. There are wars, immigrants who flee, this wave of immigration as a result of war, to escape from death and in search of life. Today I am happy as I was greeted at the door of St. Anna by one of the two families residing in the Vatican, in the parish of the same name. They are Syrian refugees. You can see the suffering in their faces. … This word: peace. I thank you for all that you do in your work to build bridges: small bridges, but bridges nonetheless, that together all form the great bridge of peace. I wish you a good trip and good work. Pray for me. Thank you”.
He also offered a greeting to all the journalists’ colleagues working in their offices.