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Pope Francis boards his flight to Mongolia yesterday (Vatican News)

Pope Francis has departed Rome aboard the papal plane to begin his apostolic journey to Mongolia, telling journalists travelling with him that the Asian nation can teach people to embrace silence. Source: Vatican News.

After departure, Pope Francis passed through the cabin and greeted the 70-odd journalists covering his Apostolic Journey to Mongolia. 

In off-the-cuff remarks, the Pope said his visit to Mongolia offers a chance to embrace silence.

“To go to Mongolia is to go to a [numerically] small people in a vast land,” he said. “Mongolia seems to have no end, and its inhabitants are few, a people few in number of a great culture. I think it will do us good to understand this silence, so vast, so big.

“It will help us understand what it means: not intellectually but with the senses. Mongolia is to be understood with the senses. Let me say that it would do us good perhaps to listen to a little of Borodin’s music, which was able to express what this breadth and greatness of Mongolia means.”

As the Pope greeted Eva Fernandez Huescar, a journalist with Radio Cope, she presented him with a water canteen that belonged to a Ukrainian soldier who was wounded by an explosion. 

He blessed the shrapnel-riddled canteen, which the soldier had given to a church in Lviv to thank God for the gift of his life. Ms Fernandez plans to return the canteen to the church after the visit to Mongolia has concluded.

Ahead of his departure, Pope Francis met with 12 residents of the Dormitory of Pope Francis, known as the “Gift of Mercy”, which sits just outside the walls of Vatican City.

According to the Holy See Press Office, the men hail from various countries and were part of a group of 30 people who on Wednesday helped to unload a shipment of humanitarian aid destined for Ukraine.

Around 300,000 portions of freeze-dried broth were shipped to the Vatican from South Korea to aid people suffering from Russia’s war in Ukraine.


Pope Francis kicks off Apostolic Journey to Mongolia (By Devin Watkins, Vatican News)