Pope’s ‘Homecoming’ Tour Moves from Ecuador to Bolivia

Pope’s ‘Homecoming’ Tour Moves from Ecuador to Bolivia

Pope Francis waves goodbye as he prepares to depart Mariscal Sucre airport in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, July 8, 2015. The pope is departing for Bolivia, as part of his three-nation South American tour. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Pope Francis waves goodbye as he prepares to depart Mariscal Sucre airport in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, July 8, 2015. The pope is departing for Bolivia, as part of his three-nation South American tour. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

(Reuters) – Pope Francis showed his sense of humor during the last few hours of his trip to Ecuador on Wednesday, straying from a prepared speech to joke with people who came to see him at a shrine near the highland capital Quito.

“I have a prepared script but I don’t want to read it,” said the 78-year-old pope to laughs from the crowd, before asking them to pray for him so that he would never forget where he came from.

“Do not fall into a spiritual Alzheimer’s, do not forget!” Francis added in a totally improvised speech.

The Argentine-born pontiff headed to Bolivia on Wednesday afternoon after drawing about 1.5 million people to Masses in Ecuador on the first leg of a “homecoming” tour, where he urged the world to take better care of the environment and the poor. He also spoke at a home for the elderly in Quito on Wednesday.

READ MORE