Jan 192015
Pope Francis arrived in Rome early Tuesday morning, organizers of his five-day visit to the Philippines said over social media.

Shepherd One, the callsign for the Philippine Airlines Airbus 340 which flew the Pope to Rome, took off from Villamor Air Base in Pasay on Monday morning after a send-off ceremony led by President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay. 

On Sunday, Pope Francis celebrated a mass at the Quirino Grandstand that was attended by a crowd of from 6-7 million. Before that, he had a meeting with religious leaders and the youth at the University of Santo Tomas.

On Saturday, he flew to Leyte to celebrate a mass at the Tacloban Airport and to visit nearby Palo town. Leyte was among the areas worst hit by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

On Friday, the Pope paid a courtesy call on President Benigno Aquino III, celebrated a mass at the Manila Cathedral, and held an Encounter with Families at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Despite the pomp and preparations surrounding his visit to the country, the Pope was described as down-to-earth, opting to travel in an open Popemobile so people lining the route of his motorcade could get a better look at him.

He also frequently deviated from prepared speeches, at times doing away with them altogether, so that he could speak from the heart. — JDS, GMA News

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