2015-07-06 14:31:00

Pope Francis has arrived in Guayaquil

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis arrived in Ecuador's capital Quito  on Sunday 5th of July. It marked a homecoming for this Argentinian Pontiff who’s currently on the first leg of an Apostolic Journey to Latin America which also takes him to two other nations Bolivia and Paraguay.

On his first full day in Ecuador Pope Francis flew in to Guayaquil, the nation’s major port city with stunning views over the Pacific Ocean. The city  lies roughly 265 kilometres from Quito.

Listen to Veronica Scarisbrick’s report: 


Guayaquil has an overwhelming Catholic population and takes its name from the Indios chief “Guayas” and his wife” Quil”. Legendary heroes who may have led the indigenous resistance from the Spanish 'Conquistadores' but whose descendants have nevertheless kept the faith implanted there.

Fitting then that the Holy Mass presided over by Pope Francis on Monday evening Rome time, in this city which takes its name from a couple, should be dedicated to the family. And families were numerous among the thousands who filled up the venue for the mass already up to  eight hours before the celebration scheduled at a park by the name of ‘Los Samanes de Guayaquil’.

Fitting too that this Pope who belongs to the Society of Jesus plans to fleetingly visit the Jesuit College there. Let's recall for a moment the special evangelising mission the  Jesuits have played throughout Latin America and their role in helping the indigenous people to safeguard their rights and culture in the face of the Spanish oppressor of the time.

As for the  Pope’s first appointment in Guayaquil. It's not to  take place at the City’s Cathedral  but at the  National Shrine of Divine Mercy. An all new building which is the brain child of Architect Eduardo Romero. One  which can hold up to 2.300 faithful and has in its grounds, lodging facilities for priests, an old age home and areas dedicated to recreation, catechesis and evangelisation.

But the pope’s first full day in Ecuador doesn’t end here. He returns to Quito in time for tea, ‘mate’ the local drink perhaps is a better word, for another two major appointments a courtesy visit to the nation’s President Mr Rafael Correa, and  a visit to the City’s cathedral.

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