The Pope is sending a message of solidarity and dialogue to Ecuador, says Director of the Holy See Press Office, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi. The Vatican spokesman made this reflection speaking to Vatican Radio at the conclusion of the Pope’s intense last full day in Ecuador yesterday, spent entirely in the nation’s capital of Quito.
Father Lombardi spoke on the first leg of the Pope’s three-nation, nine-day Apostolic Visit to Latin America, July 5-13. Today, the Pope will move on to Bolivia and then Paraguay on Friday.
In his comments, the Vatican spokesman underscored how in one way or another, in all the Pope’s speeches, he “has managed to give a message of dialogue, of solidarity, of being oriented to constructing a harmonious, inclusive society.”
Father Lombardi also replied to various questions on how the Pope is, the highlights of yesterday and what has struck him, and what his reflection so far has been of the Pope’s visit to the very Catholic and very poor region.
He noted that Pope Francis is doing well, and “not because he needs to say it, but because it is true.” He also pointed out the 78-year-old Pontiff’s extraordinary energy and how he is always calm and very attentive to all details and all the people he meets.
Reflecting on Tuesday itself, the Vatican Press Office Director noted how it was all in the capital, rather than split between two cities like the day before, which made it possible to carry out a program with a number of important events: starting from the private meeting with the bishops, the open-air Mass in Quito’s Bicentennial Park with some 1.2 million faithful present, the visit with the world of education and university, and meeting with leaders of civil society.
On the impression of the visit to Latin America so far, Fr. Lombardi reiterated how positive it has been, recalling the enormous welcome the Pope has received from so many faithful, including all those who have traveled to–perhaps–get a glimpse of him or see his car pass. The way the people have responded to his visit and their desire to listen to the Pope’s voice and feel his comfort, the spokesman underscored, has been “very remarkable” and “very impressive.”
Fr. Lombardi also observed that the immense and intense spirituality of Ecuador’s faithful is an attribute—he noted recalling his experiences in Mexico—that often characterizes the faith of Latin American nations, and added that for Ecuador to be the first Spanish-speaking country Francis would visit on the continent, really touched their faithful’s hearts. (D.C.L.)