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Five years since pope's trip to Ecuador: 48 hours, two cities


In July of 2015, Pope Francis returned to Latin America for eight days to visit three countries: Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. He seemed very happy from the start.

POPE FRANCIS
I want to thank you for the work you do. It's a very demanding job.

The three-hour flight ended in Quito at 1 p.m. At the airport, the pope was greeted by a lot of wind and the first surprise.

It was these children dressed in traditional clothing representing the country's different populations.

RAFAEL CORREA
Former President of Ecuador
“Argentinians are very proud to say that the pope is from Argentina. My dear friend, Dilma Rousseff, president of Brazil, says, 'Well, the pope may be Argentinian, but God is Brazilian. In fact, the pope is Argentinian, God may be Brazilian, but without a doubt, paradise is Ecuador. Welcome Your Holiness.'”

There he greeted the 40 children from the choir “Manos blancas,” “White hands.” They are deaf, and they use sign language to sing.

During his trip, the pope also visited Guayaquil. Pilgrims from Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Colombia and Puerto Rico attended this Mass.

POPE FRANCIS
The family is the nearest hospital. When one is sick, they are caregivers who help as they can. The family is the first school for children, the essential point of reference for young people, the best home for the elderly. The family constitutes the best 'social capital.' It cannot be replaced by other institutions. It needs to be helped and strengthened.

In Quito, he visited the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. He told the youth that they shouldn't feel superior because they study at the university level.

POPE FRANCIS
They are not synonymous. How can we help make your education a mark of greater responsibility in the face of today’s problems?

In Quito, he also celebrated a large Mass, with hand-woven indigenous ornaments.

During his homily, he spoke about the challenge of evangelizing in a world dominated by division and coldness.

POPE FRANCIS
It is precisely this troubled world into which Jesus sends us. We must not respond with nonchalance.

The pope also visited a residence home for the elderly, managed by the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa's order.

POPE FRANCIS
Is this for me? I'm going to have a sugar overload.

The pope was moved by the hundreds of thousands of Ecuadorians who always lined the streets just to see him pass.

It was like his visit to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Quinche.

POPE FRANCIS
In these two days, these 48 hours I was in touch with you, I noticed something was unusual. Sorry, something unusual in the Ecuadorian people. Everywhere I go the reception is cheerful, happy, friendly, religious, and pious. Everywhere!
All this wealth you have—spiritual wealth and piety—comes from having the courage you have, because there were difficult moments, and there was the courage to consecrate the nation to the Heart of Christ.

From that sanctuary, Pope Francis made his way to the airport, where the president was waiting to bid him farewell on behalf of the entire country, after two unforgettable days.

Javier Martínez-Brocal
Translation: CT