(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis loves being in Colombia. The warm welcome of the people gives him a real “kick” says Greg Burke, papal spokesman and Holy See Press Office Director.
Burke was speaking to Vatican Radio at the end of day three of Francis’ 5-day visit to the nation and after a particularly emotional Prayer Meeting for Reconciliation in Villavicencio.
Listen to Linda Bordoni's interview with Holy See Press Office Director, Greg Burke:
“I think he’s thrilled to be here” he said: “what he sees is a lot of young people, a lot of joyful people and he feeds off that joy.”
Burke spoke briefly about how special are the intimate moments that take place every evening in front of the nunciature before the Pope retires for the night.
“They are very short, they are organized along different themes” he explained and he recalled the encounter on Thursday evening with a group of disabled children with whom the Pope engaged telling them that “we are all vulnerable” and commenting later: “that was pure theology”.
Regarding Friday’s events focussed on Reconciliation in the town of Villavicencio Burke said they were very important for him as “from day one since his election he has been talking about mercy” and to be able to listen to the stories of the victims at the Prayer Meeting and how they have moved forward was very significant because that is what the Pope is about: “he’s about asking forgiveness of God; he says we learn to ask forgiveness from others and we learn to grant forgiveness and when he sees that in action, it’s incredibly moving for him”.
Finally commenting on the sometimes rather “exuberant” enthusiasm of the Colombian people who run after the pope-mobile and try to grab him, Burke says “the Pope is totally calm and even gets a kick out of it.”
“Obviously here there’s a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of youth, so you are going to see a lot of people running after him!” he said.