LIMA – Pope Francis headed back to Rome on Sunday, concluding his six-day apostolic visit to Chile and Peru after concelebrating a mass before approximately one million believers in Lima.
A LATAM airlines flight took off with Pope Francis on board at 19:11 (0011 GMT Monday) from the Air Group No. 8, a military base located near the Jorge Chavez international airport in Lima, where he was honorably sent off as head of state by Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
Before the official ceremony, the Pope held a brief conversation with Kuczynski and his wife, Nancy Lange, and former Labor Minister Alfonso Grados, who presided over the committee organizing his visit.
Three Mirage-2000 fighters from the Peruvian Air Force (FAP) also made a farewell fly-past over the airport before escorting the flight transporting the pontiff out of Peruvian territory.
The pontiff concluded his three-day official visit to Peru, during which he stopped by the Amazonian city of Puerto Maldonado and the northern city of Trujillo, and also officiated a mass at the Las Palmas air base, where he denounced the “painful and unjust” situation in the cities to the crowd.
In his last homily, the Pope said that some people in the cities are able to acquire adequate resources for the development of their family and personal life, but there are also many others who have no access to those resources.
The pontiff added that it is painful to note that among those underprivileged people are children and adolescents.
At the end of the Mass, the pontiff said goodbye saying that his visit to Peru will leave an indelible mark on his heart and expressed his gratitude to President Kuczynski, Peruvian authorities and the thousands of volunteers who helped in organizing his visit.
During the last day of his stay in Peru, the Pope also visited the relics of five Catholic saints, met hundreds of Peruvian nuns and led the Angelus pray for parishioners at the Plaza de Armas in Lima.
After the Pontiff arrived in Peru on Jan. 18 from Chile, he met with representatives from the indigenous community of Puerto Maldonado on Friday and toured Trujillo, a northern city devastated by floods in 2017, on Saturday.