He also told reporters the American soft rock band Toto was greatly underrated.
Before boarding his flight to leave the Central African Republic earlier this week, Pope Francis offered a heartfelt goodbye to a group of young people gathered at the airport.
Speaking off-the-cuff, the Holy Father told the enthusiastic crowd, “It’s gonna take a lot to take me away from you.”
The crowd cheered in response as he continued, “There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do.”
“I bless the rains down in Africa!” the 78-year-old pontiff raised his voice. As the energy from the crowd continued to build, he repeated himself, “I bless the rains down in Africa! I bless the rains down in Africa!”
Caught up in the moment, his spokesperson Fr. Federico Lombardi, who was standing at his side, called out, “I bless the rains!”
“Gonna take some time,” the Pope said as he gestured for the crowd to quiet down, “to do the things we never had.”
As the crowd settled down, his countenance became more serious and his speech a little more cryptic. “The wild dogs cry out in the night.”
“As they grow restless, longing for some solitary company, I know that I must do what’s right.”
Some in the crowd murmured they were confused, but the pontiff continued on, raising his hands towards the horizon. “As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti, I seek to cure what’s deep inside.” Then, with characteristic humility, he added, “frightened of this thing that I’ve become.”
There was a moment of confused silence in the crowd, until a trickle of clapping turned into a full standing ovation. Francis waived to the crowd and entered his plane.
During his interview on the return flight home to Rome, Francis told reporters he thought the American soft rock band Toto was greatly underrated.
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