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Rome Reports

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Iraq welcomes Pope Francis with a song of fraternity: Ode to Joy


The papal plane landed on schedule at Baghdad International Airport. Pope Francis stepped out of the airplane mask and all. The patriarch of the Chaldean Catholics, Card. Louis Sako went up the boarding steps to greet him.

The wind was blowing hard, so both Pope Francis and Card. Pietro Parolin carried their hats in their hands. Iraq welcomed the pope with nothing less than Beethoven's Ode to Joy, a piece of fraternity.

Iraq's prime minister, Shia Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, accompanied Pope Francis to the airport's VIP hall. They sat and spoke for more than five minutes before making their way to the car that would take the pope to the presidential palace. They walked past people dressed in traditional outfits and playing music.

Iraqi people waving Vatican and Iraqi flags showed the pope their affection along the way.

Pope Francis is the first pope to step foot in this country.

Javier Romero