Pope concludes Asia tour with in-flight briefing

During an in-flight press conference on the return flight to Rome from the […]

REUTERS638107_ArticoloDuring an in-flight press conference on the return flight to Rome from the Philippines on Monday, Pope Francis touched on various topics ranging from openness to life in the family to his upcoming visit to the United States.

The briefing came at the conclusion of the Holy Father’s 12-19 Jan. tour of Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

Listen to Ann Schneible’s report:

The Pope told journalists he was impressed by the enthusiastic “gestures” of the Filipino people which he said are not based on protocol but rather come from the heart.

During his trip the Pope met with victims of the 2013 typhoon Haiyan which devastated the island.

He described the Filippino people as one which “knows how to suffer, and is capable of rising up”.

Pope Francis also spoke of the need for families to be open to life, citing the relevance the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae by Bl. Paul VI whom he described as a “prophet”.

However, the Holy Father added that it is not necessary to have a big family in order to be Catholic.

Another topic discussed with journalists was Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the United States later this year which coincides with the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September 2015.

The visit to the US will include stops at New York City and the nation’s capital, Washington DC where the Pope will canonize 18th century missionary Bl. Junipero Serra at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

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