VILLAMOR AIR BASE, Pasay City, Jan. 19, 2015—The Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines said the Holy Father and the authorities in the Vatican have received the widest collaboration and “best hospitality” everywhere they went during Pope Francis’ five-day visit to the country.
In a press briefing upon the departure of the Pope and his entourage for Rome earlier today, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto thanked all the sectors of the Philippine government for collaborating in the success of Pope Francis’ state and apostolic visit.
“We received the best and the widest collaboration. In fact we had the opportunity to get in touch with everybody and everywhere in the government, both national and local. And this has been noticed by everybody, and the collaborator of the Holy Father said thanks… because they received the best hospitality everywhere they went,” Pinto said.
The Nuncio also said the mere size of the papal entourage is proof that authorities in the Vatican are happy to have accompanied the Holy Father in his visit to the Philippines.
“According to those who accompanied the Holy Father, normally they have less people, but this time they are a big delegation of 12 people. So almost all the authorities in Rome, except for one who just arrived, were here with us. And they were happy to be with us,” he added.
Pinto likewise thanked the Filipino bishops, whom he said have supported him during his first experience of arranging a papal visit.
“Fraternally, I would like to say thank you to my brother bishops who sustained me. This was my first experience of a papal visit because in two occasions I arrived late in Papua New Guinea about 30 years ago and in Argentina about 25 years ago. But now the Pope said, ‘Now you have this. I’m satisfied,’” he added.
Pope Francis, his entourage and Vatican-accredited media personnel have departed from this city at exactly 10 a.m. The Philippine Airlines Airbus A340-300 jet carrying them reportedly took off from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at 10:12 a.m.
The PAL plane, dubbed as “Shepherd One,” is expected to arrive in Rome via Ciampino Airport at about at 12:26 a.m. (Philippine time) tomorrow. The Manila-Rome flight is expected to take 15 hours. (CBCP News)