By Melissa Butz
On September 10, the president of Madagascar waited for Pope Francis at the airport entrance to thank him and accompany him to the base of the plane.
They met one another in a terminal lounge. In the background could be heard the tunes of farewell songs, prepared by choirs.
During the brief meeting, the president’s wife also gave the pontiff a final parting gift of the visit.
Then Pope Francis said goodbye to each of the bishops of Madagascar and some members of the country’s government.
A choir then sang a melody, sending the Holy Father off on his long journey.
Before entering the plane, Pope Francis turned to say goodbye one last time. At 8:15 a.m., the Air Madagascar plane took off.
The trip to Rome will be around 10 hours. The plane will fly over Tanzania, Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt and Greece before landing in Rome at around 7 p.m.