The telegram Pope Francis sent President Aquino
MANILA, Philippines – Record crowds, frenetic greetings, and song and dance presentations marked the 5-day state and pastoral visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines – an effort the pontiff appreciated.
In a telegram sent by the pope to President Benigno Aquino III on Monday, January 19, the day of his departure, Pope Francis thanked Aquino and the Filipino people for the "warm welcome" and the "kindness" shown to him during his trip.
During the Pope's visit, a record crowd of 4 million people attended his mass in Luneta despite rain and cold weather, while another 2 million flocked surrounding streets to greet his popemobile. In Leyte, thousands of massgoers again braved the rains to hear him speak.
The Philippines is the Catholic Church's stronghold in Asia where 80% of its 100 million population consider themselves Catholic. During his visit, Metro Manila declared a 5-day holiday to honor his trip.
The telegram sent by the pope was released by Malacañang on Wednesday, January 21. The message is shown below:
HIS EXCELLENCY BENIGNO AQUINO
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
AS I DEPART FROM THE PHILIPPINES, I EXTEND TO YOU, THE GOVERNMENT AND ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE NATION MY HEARTFELT GRATITUDE FOR YOUR WARM WELCOME AND EVERY KINDNESS SHOWN TO ME DURING MY VISIT. I RENEW TO YOUR EXCELLENCY AND THE ENTIRE COUNTRY THE ASSURANCE OF MY PRAYERS FOR PEACE AND PROSPERITY.