Pope departs for Mexico

Pope Departs for Apostolic Visit in Mexico

Francis Says Aim is to Support Mission of Local Church, Bring Message of Hope

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Pope Francis has departed from Rome and is headed toward Latin America.
Shortly before 8:30 this morning, the papal flight, Alitalia A330, carrying the Pope, his entourage and journalists, took off from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport.
The Holy Father’s visit to Mexico marks his 12th international Apostolic Trip and his fourth journey to Latin America.
Before reaching the country, however, Francis will stop in Cuba’s capital of Havana, where he will meet with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, and they will sign a declaration. He is expected to arrive in the nation about 2 p.m. local time, after about 12 hours of flying.
Pope Francis is due to arrive at “Benito Juárez” International Airport in Mexico City at 7:30 p.m. local time, where a welcoming ceremony will be held.
During his intense itinerary, the Pope will meet with youth, prisoners, sick children, and will celebrate Mass in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City. He also will be visiting poor towns, many marked by violence and drug trafficking.
Before leaving Italy, Pope Francis sent President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, a telegram in which he explains that his trip to Mexico is aimed to «support the mission of the local Church and bring a message of hope.»  He also extended his «respectful greetings» to President Mattarella and imparted his apostolic blessing to the Italian people.
As is customary, the Pope sent telegrams to the Heads of States of the countries he flew over, including France, Spain and Portugal, in which he extended similar wishes in English.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Pope’s Program in Mexico: https://zenit.org/articles/program-for-popes-mexico-visit/

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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': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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