Pope Francis has left for Havana. The Alitalia flight took off at 8.24 a.m. from Fiumicino airport with a delay of about 45 minutes (the departure was scheduled at 7.45) due to a slowdown of operations connected to priority emergency landing, which occurred a few minutes before 8, of the EasyJet flight Naples-Venice. Thereafter priority was given to several flights landing on the Runway 1 before the Pope’s flight took off.
As usually, after takeoff, Bergoglio addressed a message to the President of the Republic. “As I am leaving Rome and fly to Mexico to support the mission of the local Church and bring a message of hope – the Pope wrote – I am happy to send you, Mr. President, my respectful greetings which I accompany with my fervent good wishes for the spiritual, civil, and social welfare of the Italian people, to which I willingly send my apostolic blessing”. The Pope sent greetings also to the Heads of State of the overflown countries, i.e., France, Spain, Portugal, the US, and Bahamas.
Mattarella’s response arrived shortly after: ‘‘Holiness, I wish to send you my most sincere thanks for the message you kindly sent me when you were leaving for the Apostolic Journey to the United Mexican States – reads the statement -. After your visit to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay last July, and the one in Cuba in September, Italy and the international community follow with genuine interest your new mission in the Americas.” Mexico – said the head of state – is a “an emblematic country of Latin American multifaceted reality, where deep contrasts are combined with enormous potential, trustfully waits – especially the poor, marginalized, and those who live every day in precarious and difficult conditions – his message of peace, solidarity and hope.”