Pope Francis leaves Rome on the papal plane as he begins his missionary journey to Mongolia, telling reporters traveling with him that Mongolia can teach us to embrace silence.
By Devin Watkins
The papal plane took off from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport Thursday afternoon at 6:41 pm, bound for Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
The flight is scheduled to last nine and a half hours and is scheduled to land in the capital of Mongolia at 10 am (GMT +8).
After leaving, Pope Francis passed the booth and greeted the 70 journalists covering his Apostolic Journey to Mongolia.
In spontaneous remarks, the pope said his visit to the Asian country provided an opportunity to embrace silence.
“Going to Mongolia is going to a small people in a vast land,” he said. “Mongolia seems to have no end, and its population is few, a people few in number with a great culture. I think it will be useful for us to understand this silence, so vast, so great. It will help us to understand what it means.” Not intellectually, but with the senses. Mongolia must be understood with the senses. And let me say that it may be useful for us to listen to a little of Borodin’s music, which was able to express what the vastness and greatness of Mongolia means.
While the Pope was welcoming Eva Fernandez Huescar, a journalist for Radio Kop, she presented him with a canteen of water belonging to a Ukrainian soldier wounded in an explosion.
He blessed the canteen full of shrapnel, which the soldier gave to a church in Lviv to thank God for the gift of his life. Mrs. Fernandez plans to return the canteen to the church after the visit to Mongolia.
Meeting with beneficiaries of church charity
Before leaving, Pope Francis met with 12 residents of Pope Francis’ residence, known as the Gift of Mercy, which is located outside the walls of Vatican City.
According to the Holy See Press Office, the men hail from different countries and were part of a group of 30 people who on Wednesday helped unload a shipment of humanitarian aid bound for Ukraine.
About 300,000 pieces of freeze-dried broth were shipped to the Vatican from South Korea to help people suffering from Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, head of the Department for Charitable Service, told Vatican News that he told the 12 men they would work again on Thursday at 5:00 p.m.
“Instead of loading aid onto trucks, we went to greet His Holiness the Pope before his visit to Mongolia. The men were very surprised that we could do this. I did not want to tell them in advance,” the cardinal said. “They were all very impressed to have met the Holy Father today. This is exactly how grace works.”
The Pope’s Vicar also emphasized the symbolic nature of this humanitarian aid to Ukraine, explaining that the residents of Pope Francis’ residence enthusiastically participated in the project to help those who are currently facing a very difficult situation.
Protect Our Lady
On Wednesday afternoon, Pope Francis made his usual visit to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major.
And he stopped to pray in front of the ancient icon Maria Salus Populi Romani He commissioned his apostolic journey to Mongolia to protect the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Overview of the trip to Mongolia
The four-day visit will see the Pope rest from his long trip throughout Friday, before beginning his public activities on Saturday.
He first meets with the President of Mongolia and civil authorities, then holds a meeting with bishops, priests, monks, nuns and lay ministers at the Cathedral of Saints. Peter and Paul in Ulaanbaatar.
On Sunday, Pope Francis will hold an ecumenical interreligious meeting in the morning and lead a public mass in the afternoon.
The only public event he held Monday was a meeting with church charity workers at the House of Mercy.
The pope is due back in Rome around 5:20 pm (GMT +2).