APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
[5-8 March 2021]
WORDS OF THE HOLY FATHER
TO JOURNALISTS ON THE FLIGHT TO IRAQ
Friday, 5 March 2021
Good morning, Your Holiness, and good morning to you all. After many months we are once again on a papal flight, fifteen months. In the meantime habits have changed, and this very image says it all [the journalists and the Pope are all wearing face masks]: we must all respect the healthcare measures.
I thank you, Your Holiness, for your wish to be a pilgrim in Iraq, the land of Abraham, with its people, its Christians. You said a few days ago: "One cannot disappoint a people for the second time”, and we thank you for your wish to be accompanied by a large group of journalists: it was not to be taken for granted. There are 74 of us, from 15 countries, and for 14 journalists it is their first time on a papal flight. We await the gestures and words of the coming days, and in the meantime, we thank you.
Good morning, and thank you for the company. Thank you for coming. I am happy to resume the trips, and this is an emblematic journey. It is also a duty towards a land that has been tormented for so many years. Thank you for accompanying me. I will try to follow the instruction and not shake hands with anyone, but I do not want to stay far away: I will come round to greet you at closer quarters. Many thanks.
[The Pope makes a “tour” of the journalists].
I wish you a good journey. I would just like to… They had said to me that it was the birthday of one of you today, but perhaps it was a mistake… And the second thing I would like to say is that there are absences that are keenly felt, and today the role of “dean” of the press corps has been passed from Valentina [Alazraki] to [Philip] Pulella. Valentina’s absence makes me rather sad, because she has accompanied us, the Popes, for 40 or 50 years… But I hope she will be with us on the next journey. And Pulella is our dean for this journey. Thank you!
Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 5 March 2021
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