Pope Francis on his historic tour in Iraq

On Monday Pope Francis wrapped up his historic whirlwind tour of Iraq that sought to bring hope to the country’s marginalized Christian minority with a message of coexistence, forgiveness, and peace.

The pontiff and his traveling delegation were to be seen off with a farewell ceremony at the Baghdad airport, from where he will leave for Rome following a four-day papal visit that has covered five provinces across Iraq.
At every turn, Francis urged Iraqis to embrace diversity — from Najaf in the south, where he held a historic face-to-face meeting with powerful Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, to Nineveh to the north, where he met with Christian victims of the Daesh group’s terror and heard their testimonies of survival.

People gathered in crowds to catch a glimpse of the pope wherever he went, fueling coronavirus concerns. Few wore facemasks, especially during Francis’ stops in northern Iraq on Sunday. That day ended with an open-air mass in a stadium that drew nearly 10,000 people. Security was tight and most events were strictly controlled.

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