A surprise visit by Pope Francis to the friars of the Holy Land Friary in Rome

“You are my brother, which is why I will take you home”, Pope Francis told me while we were with young people in Athens. The words of Br Eduardo Masseo Gutierrez, a Mexican Friar Minor of the Custody of the Holy Land, who was Pope Francis’ interpreter during the 5-day Apostolic Visit to Cyprus and Greece.

At the end of the Apostolic Journey, on arrival in Rome and in the same car, the Pontiff accompanied Br Eduardo from Ciampino airport to the Holy Land Friary in Via Boiardo in Rome. Meeting the Community, Pope Francis greeted everyone and thanked his interpreter for his service.

Br Eduardo shared his concern when asked to be an interpreter from Greek into Spanish and vice versa. It was the Holy Father who inspired him with familiarity and confidence by saying, as his first words: “Wherever I go, I find the Franciscans!”. “The Pope is a person with a wonderful sense of fatherliness and simplicity. He is a true brother,” said Br Eduardo, reflecting on the humanity of the Pontiff, who bears the name of St Francis.