At the John Paul II international airport in Balice-Kraków, there was a departure ceremony held to mark the Holy Father's last moments in Poland. The Pope was welcomed at the airport by the President of the Polish Republic, Mister Andrzej Duda, along with his wife.
Following the playing of the respective national anthems and the sharing of greetings between the respective delegations, the Pope climbed the stairs and boarded the aircraft - a LOT airlines B787 - for the return flight to Rome.
Telegrams to Heads of State
during the journey from Kraków to Rome
The aircraft carrying the Holy Father departed from Kraków's international airport at approximately 7:30pm local time.
As it left Polish airspace, and passing over the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia before re-entering Italian airspace, the Holy Father, Pope Francis sent the following telegrams to the respective Heads of State.
His Excellency, Andrzej Duda
President of the Republic of Poland
As I depart Poland for my return trip to Rome, I wish to express my deep gratitude to Your Excellency and to all the Polish people for your generous welcome and hospitality. I renew the assurance of my prayers for the nation's peace and well-being, as I invoke upon all of you God's abundant blessings.
His Excellency, Miloš Zeman
President of the Czech Republic
As my return flight to Rome carries me over Czech Republic territory, I renew my greetings to Your Excellency and your fellow citizens, and I assure you of my prayers for the peace and well-being of the nation.
Her Excellency, Doris Bures
President of the National Council
of the Republic of Austria
Entering Austrian airspace on my return to Rome, I renew my greetings to Your Excellency and your fellow citizens as I invoke abundant divine blessings upon the country.
His Excellency, Borut Pahor
President of the Republic of Slovenia
With the assurance of my prayers for the peace ad prosperity of the nation, I renew my greetings to Your Excellency and your fellow citizens as I enter Slovenian airspace on my return to Rome.
Her Excellency, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović
President of the Republic of Croatia
As my return flight to Rome carries me over Croatia, I renew my best wishes to Your Excellency and your fellow citizens and I invoke abundant divine blessings upon the nation.
To His Excellency, the Honorable Sergio Mattarella
President of the Italian Republic
Palazzo del Quirinale
Upon my re-entry from the Apostolic voyage to Poland, where I encountered youth who are ready and committed to create a future rooted in the perennial Christian values that comprise the spiritual patrimony of Europe, which so admirably appears also in the history of Poland, I extend a heart-felt greeting to you, Mister President, and to the beloved Italian nation, along with my cordial greetings while assuring you all of my special prayer for you.
The aircraft carrying the Holy Father on the return flight from the XXXI World Youth Day, celebrated in Kraków, Poland, landed at the Leonardo da Vinci international airport in Rome-Fumicino shortly after 9:30pm local time.
Before returning to the Vatican, Pope Francis went, as usual, to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major to pray before the image of Our Lady, Salus Populi romani in gratitude for the success of this Apostolic Voyage.