‘Go to sleep,’ so the ‘neighborhood can sleep’ is the recommendation Pope Francis has for enthusiastic crowds who have for the past two nights gathered outside the residence of the Apostolic Nuncio in Quito, where he is spending the night during his days in Ecuador.
Since Francis has arrived in the Ecuadorian capital during his nine-day, three-country Apostolic Visit to Latin America, July 5-13, the Pope has responded to the many, eager faithful calling for him to come out to speak to them.
Making a surprise appearance outside the residence, both Sunday and last night, the Holy Father greeted the large, loud crowd, who was singing to welcome him, urging him to exit and greet them.
“Come out, Pope,” they were shouting, sources say.
Eventually, Pope Francis conceded, stepping out of the residence, praying a Hail Mary with them, and telling them once again to “Go to bed,” so “the neighborhood can sleep.”
The next stops on the Pope’s full agenda are Bolivia tomorrow and then Paraguay on Friday.
In the region which claims about 40% of the world’s Catholics, the countries the Holy Father is visiting are very Catholic and very poor. According to Pew Research Center, the Catholics in Ecuador make up 79% of its population; in Bolivia, 77%; in Paraguay, 89%.