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Fr. Lombardi: Ecuador Has Extraordinarily Welcomed Pope Francis

Vatican Press Office Director Speaks to Vatican Radio After Briefing Journalists

Pope Francis has been extraordinarily welcomed in Ecuador, says Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi. At the end of a briefing with journalists held last night in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito, the director of the Vatican Press Office was interviewed by Vatican Radio and shared his thoughts on the second day of the Pope’s Apostolic Visit to Latin America, underway through July 13.

Returning to his home continent, the Argentine Pope is into his third day in Ecuador before moving on to Bolivia and then Paraguay.

In the interview, Vatican Radio pointed out how in the two Ecuadorian cities of Guayaquil and Quito, the Pope has focused on the theme of family, and how, in Francis’ meeting with Jesuits, the Pope—”in a way”—had a meeting with his family. With this in mind, Fr. Lombardi was asked about his view of the Pope’s day spent between the two cities.

In his response, Father Lombardi said, “One of the things that strikes me is just the amount of people who stand along the roads in these cities.

“This is a beautiful thing, that speaks of an extraordinary welcome.”

Father Lombardi acknowledged the importance of a large part of the day being spent in Guayaquil, the nation’s second largest city. Through the Pope’s presence and celebrating Mass there, a huge number of Ecuadorians were able to see and meet him.

The family, Father Lombardi answered, was the chosen theme “because it actually is one of the important issues for the Church, and it is important in each society.  Also here in Ecuador, of course.”

During the Pope’s Apostolic Visit to the United States in September, he will be at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. Moreover, in October, the second phase of the Synod of Bishops on the Family will take place.

“This trip,” the Jesuit spokesman added, “was included in the context of the universal Church, which, in these days, is focusing on the family with great intensity.”

Once the Pope returned to the nation’s capital of Quito later in the day, Father Lombardi also pointed out, hundreds of thousands of people again had the opportunity to see and encounter him between his visits to the cathedral and the presidential palace. (D.C.L.)

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