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Pope's Remarks on Plane on Flight to Panama

Pays Tribute to Recently Deceased Alexej Bukalov of Tass

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Yesterday morning, January 23, 2019, on the plane taking him to Panama, on the occasion of the 34th World Youth Day, the Holy Father Francis went, as usual, to greet the media agents accompanying him on the papal flight.
Introduced by the presentation of the Director ad interim of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, the Pope addressed a few words to the journalists.
Here is a translation of the text.
* * *
The Holy Father’s Words  
 Monsignor Maurico Rueda:
 I have the pleasure of introducing you to the new spokesman ad interim of the Holy See, Director Alessandro Gisotti. I’m sure that many of you already know him. So in this, his first trip as spokesman, we give him our welcome.
Alessandro Gisotti:
 Holy Father, good morning. Here we are for this occasion. Good morning to all of you and good morning to the colleagues of Panama who are traveling with us. The Atlantic, in fact, is being crossed again, Holy Father, as on the occasion of your first international trip for a World Youth Day. And the youth of the Pope wait for you at Panama — the youth of the world! Please, Holy Father . . .
Pope Francis:
 Good morning! It’s a pleasure to be with you here. I thank you so much for having come and, in advance, I want to thank you for the work you will do.
Today’s is the first flight [he is referring to his international trips] in which a colleague is missing whom I loved so much: Alexej Bukalov of Tass, man of great humanism, that humanism which isn’t afraid of the human, to the lowest degree, and isn’t afraid of the divine, to the highest. A man who was capable of doing syntheses of a Dostoevskyian style . . . I’m sure he will be missed by all of us. And now I invite you to a moment of silence and then a prayer for him. Our Father . . . Requiem aeternam . . .
 And now I will greet you to begin this trip.
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

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