After celebrating Mass in private and saying his final farewells, Pope Francis has departed from Madagascar and is returning toward Rome.
Before leaving for the airport, Francis also greeted about ten poor elderly women at the apostolic nunciature where he was staying who represent those who the nunciature assists every Friday.
At 9:40 a.m. local time (8:40 Rome time) today, the Madagascar Airlines A340neo papal flight carrying the Pope, his entourage and journalists, took off from Madgascar’s Antananarivo Airport, en route for Rome’s Ciampino Airport.
The Holy Father’s Sept. 4-10 visit to the ‘three ‘M’s’ of Mozambique, Madagascar, and Mauritius, marked the Pope’s fourth visit to Africa, his second to Sub-Saharan Africa, and represented the Holy Father’s attention to the peripheries and the poor. It also marked his 31st Apostolic Trip.
Each of these nations had been visited by St. Pope John Paul II during his pontificate.
As is customary, Pope Francis likely this evening will visit Rome’s Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to thank Our Lady for the fruits of the trip, and for her help and protection.
The Holy Father will also hold his press conference on the return flight and ZENIT will provide you with the full English translation of the Q & A as soon as possible.
Tomorrow morning, the Pope will still have his weekly General Audience in the Vatican.