Pope's Remarks to Journalists on Way to Lesbos

‘One last word. I would remind you that today is Pope Benedict XVI’s 89th birthday. A prayer for him!’

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Below is a ZENIT translation of the words exchanged between Pope Francis and journalists during the flight from Rome to the Greek island of Lesbos this morning:
Father Lombardi: Holy Father, welcome in our midst. Best wishes for this challenging journey, in which we hope to accompany you doing good service, in order that your message and your gesture is understood all over the world. There are about 50 of us. As usual, we represent a bit of various countries, continents, languages ​​and media. And we were able to put together this group in just a few days. This means that there is always a lot of attention, desire and willingness to accompany you. If you would to tell us a few words at the beginning of this journey …
Holy Father: First of all, good morning! I wish you a good day. I thank you for this company. And this trip is a little different. In the Apostolic Journeys, we go to do many things: to see people, to speak … there is also joy. This is a journey marked by sadness, this is important. It is a sad journey. We go to meet the greatest humanitarian catastrophe since the Second World War. Let’s go – and we’ll see – so many people suffering, not knowing where to go, who had to flee. And we’re going to a graveyard: the sea. So many people there drowned. I say this not to sour, not bitter, but because even your, today’s, work can convey to you the state of mind with which I make this trip. Thank you for accompanying me. Thank you very much!
One last word. I would like to remind you that today is Pope Benedict XVI’s 89th birthday. A prayer for him!
[Original text: Italian]
[Translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov]

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