After an intense and emotional visit to Albania, Pope Francis boarded the Alitalia flight that will return him to Rome.
Before departing for the airport, the Holy Father visited the ‘Betania’ Center, a charitable organization that cares for orphaned children.
As is customary, the Pope sent a telegram to President Bujar Nishani of Albania before boarding his flight, thanking the head of state for welcoming him to the country.
“As I depart Albania for my return flight to Rome, I wish to express my deep gratitude to Your Excellency and the beloved Albanian people for your generous hospitality during my visit,” he wrote. “Invoking abundant blessings upon you all, I pray that the Almighty may grant you and your fellow citizens the gifts of peace and well-being.”
The Pope also sent a second telegram to President Giorgo Napolitano of Italy, before returning to the country, sending him and the Italian nation his “most cordial greetings.”
Pope Francis is expected to land at Rome’s Ciampino airport at 9:30 p.m., local time.