ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE — On his way to Colombia for a Sept. 6-11 visit, Pope Francis asked for prayers for Venezuela, so that the country can find “lasting stability.”
The Venezuela question has been looming over Francis’s fifth trip to Latin America since it was announced earlier in the year. Members of the Venezuelan bishops conference will be in Colombia, and will have the opportunity to see the pope while he addresses a larger group of Latin American bishops, however a more private meeting is not on the official agenda to this point.
As he usually does, at the beginning of the flight he greeted the journalists travelling with him, and asked them to pray for the trip.
“During this flight we’ll also fly over Venezuela,” he said. “I ask also for a prayer for Venezuela, so that they can dialogue and find a real stability [through] dialogue with everyone.”
Following protocol, whenever a pope flies over a country, he sends a telegram to the heads of states the plane passes over. In this case, he’s expected to send one to President Nicolas Maduro, of Venezuela and also to American President Donald Trump.
Afterwards, Francis greeted each journalist individually, many of whom gave him books, letters and pictures or took the opportunity to ask him for small things, from blessings to short greetings.
Asked by Crux about when he might be going to his home county Argentina, Pope Francis answered “I don’t know. I still don’t know …”
Journalist Maria Antonieta Collins, of Univision, gave the pope a DVD collection of Cantiflas, Mexico’s–and Pope Francis’s–all time favorite comedian.
“A pope also needs to laugh,” she told Francis, to which he responded: “And this man makes you laugh without reducing the [intellectual] level.”
The videos are not available to buy online, so Collins traveled from Miami, where she’s based, to Mexico City to purchase the DVDs. “If you can give that man something smile about, everything is worth it,” she told Crux.