By Francesca Merlo
Pope Francis has left Slovakia, after his 34th Apostolic Visit abroad during which he visited Budapest, Hungary, for the closing Mass of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress, before flying to Slovakia, where he visited Bratislava, Šaštín, Presov and Košice.
After Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Šaštín , which was the Pope’s final public Mass of the journey, he addressed the faithful in Slovakia, saying “the time has now come for me to take leave of your country”. He added that “in this Eucharist I gave thanks to God for having allowed me to come among you and to conclude my pilgrimage in the devoted embrace of your people, celebrating together the great religious and national feast of your Patroness, the Virgin Mother of Sorrows”.
The Pope then offered his heartfelt thanks to his brother bishops “for all of your preparations and your welcome”, as well as renewing his gratitude to President of the Republic and the civil authorities
I carry you in my heart, concluded the Pope. "Ďakujem všetkým! [Thank you all!]"
Then, on Wednesday afternoon, Pope Francis was greeted at the airport by the President of the Republic and by civil authorities, before taking off for Rome on what will be the very last papal Alitalia flight before the company closes down.