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Pope Francis: Parents cherishing their kids is a sign of hope for the future

Pope Francis: Parents cherishing their kids is a sign of hope for the future

Pope Francis greets locals at the Cross of Reconciliation in the Parque de los Fundadores in Villavicencio, Colombia on September 8, 2017. L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO

VATICAN— On his return flight from Colombia, Pope Francis said that seeing parents’ devotion for their children gives him hope for the country’s future.

Concluding his press conference aboard the papal flight back to Rome, Pope Francis said, “I would like to conclude with an image. What most struck me about the Colombians in the four cities were the people in the streets, greeting me. What most struck me is that the father, mother, raised up their children to help them see the Pope and so the Pope could bless them, as if saying, ‘This is my treasure, this is my hope. This is my future’.”

“This struck me,” he continued. “The tenderness. The eyes of those fathers, of those mothers. Precious, precious.”

Seeing this devotion of parents for the children, he said, is “a symbol of hope, of future.”

“A people that is capable of having children and then showing them to you, helping them see as well, as if saying, ‘This is my treasure,’ is a people that has hope and future.”

The Pope spoke aboard the papal plane Sunday evening on the return flight from Colombia. He visited the country Sept. 6-11 to promote peace and reconciliation in the country, which has suffered from the violence of a decades-long civil war.

During his trip, Pope Francis met with religious and civil leaders, visited a children’s home and a homeless shelter, and spoke at a prayer gathering for national reconciliation. He visited the Colombian cities of Bogota, Villavicencio, Medellín and Cartagena.

In the 40-minute long press conference aboard the papal flight, the Pope also spoke about the phasing out of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), corruption, climate change, and whether Colombia could provide a model of the peace process for other countries.