Pope Francis has returned to Rome after his apostolic visit to Rio de Janeiro for the World Youth Day celebrations. According to reports, the Pope went immediately to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to pray. He offered gifts of a football and a t-shirt, given to him by children outside the church, to Our Lady, reports The Catholic Herald.
Pope Francis also found time to tweet a message to his followers on Twitter. 'I am back home, and I assure you that my joy is much greater than my exhaustion!' he wrote.
The Pope has shown remarkable stamina throughout his trip to Brazil, taking on a hectic schedule which included visiting the national shrine of Aparecida, touring a Rio favela, and presiding over a number of well-attended events. The closing Mass of three million people was the largest since Manila in 1995 (4.5 million), reported the Catholic News Agency.
Pope Francis took on his various engagements with such energy and enthusiasm that those working alongside him were made to feel the pace. During the apostolic visit, Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi joked: 'I’m happy we’re half-way through because if it were any longer I’d be destroyed.'
Shortly before leaving Brazil, the Holy Father gave a final speech at Rio de Janeiro’s Galeao Airport. Brazilian President Dilma Roussef headed the delegation of political, community and church leaders that came to see him off.
In his address, Pope Francis thanked everyone for making this week 'a splendid celebration of the richness and joy of our faith in Jesus Christ.'
WYD: 'My joy is much greater than my exhaustion', says Francis (Catholic Herald)