The war in Ukraine never ceases to be relevant on papal trips.
During the flight to Mongolia, Pope Francis blessed this canteen pierced by shrapnel from an explosion. The Ukrainian serviceman who was carrying it survived it and to thank God that he is still alive he left this object in a church in Lviv.
Francis exchanged a few brief words with the journalists, about 70 of them.
Mongolia seems to be never ending and its inhabitants are few. A small population with great culture.
After more than 9 hours of flying, the plane landed in Mongolia. From the windows you could see the great steppe. A vast country where there are only a little more than 3 million inhabitants and where Catholics number less than 1,400. This was the destination chosen by Francis for his 43rd international trip and his fourteenth visit to an Asian country.
On the ground he was welcomed with the traditional offering given to guests. The humble aaruul, a traditional product usually made from yak milk and part of the travel provisions. It was very common for Mongolians to carry it on their horseback journeys across the vast steppe.
Your Holiness. Pleased to meet you. Welcome to Mongolia.
It is a pleasure and an honor.
Mongolia is a strategic land on a political level because it is located between Russia and China. In fact the papal flight passed through Chinese airspace and as is traditional the pontiff wrote a telegram to the authorities to thank them for the gesture.
The 86-year-old Pope is the first in history to visit Mongolia. A five-day trip was desired by the Argentinian Pope whose priority is to visit areas where Catholics are a minority. His visit is an important occasion not only for Christians but also for the whole country.