- Title: Pope Francis delights Catholics with visit to Azerbaijan
- Date: 2nd October 2016
- Summary: BAKU, AZERBAIJAN (OCTOBER 2, 2016) (REUTERS) PEOPLE WATCHING BIG SCREEN SHOWING POPE FRANCIS' PLANE LANDING AND CHEERING PEOPLE WAVING FLAGS NUN WAVING AT PLANE SHOWN ON BIG SCREEN IN CHURCHYARD SPECTATORS WAITING PEOPLE WATCHING POPE ON SCREEN, CHEERING FLAGS OF AZERBAIJAN AND VATICAN POPE FRANCIS TALKING TO PEOPLE IN CROWD PEOPLE TAKING PICTURES POPE SPRINKLING HOLY WATER (SOUNDBITE) (English) CATHOLIC FROM ENGLAND, LAURA, SAYING: "It was a very emotional experience. When he walked in there was an air of peace. And it's very hard to describe. It was absolutely wonderful, and we feel very honoured to be here today." (SOUNDBITE) (English) CATHOLIC FROM VENEZUELA, EMILIA, SAYING: "This is a great opportunity to see the Pope so close as a small community. And I could not find another country, as I said because we are a small group here. And it was a great experience even to touch his hands and get a bless(ing) from him." (SOUNDBITE) (English) CATHOLIC FROM PAKISTAN, KAMRAN, SAYING: "It was my first time that I met the Pope, I saw the Pope, it was a very spiritual (experience)." PEOPLE WALKING OUT OF CHURCH AFTER HOLY MASS (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) CATHOLIC FROM ITALY, CORRADO CAPUCCI, SAYING: "I have already seen Pope Francis in Rome. But here (I got) a wonderful impression, because there is few people. But everyone felt he was very close to the Pope." VARIOUS OF SPECTATORS BEHIND POLICE BARRIERS
- Embargoed: 17th October 2016 11:40
- Keywords: Baku Azerbaijan Pope Francis holy mass Roman Catholic
- Location: BAKU, AZERBAIJAN
- City: BAKU, AZERBAIJAN
- Country: Azerbaijan
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA00152B8XTZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Catholic believers from around the world gathered on Sunday (October 2) in Baku, Azerbaijan's capital, for a Holy Mass led by Pope Francis.
The audience flocked to the church of Virgin Mary Immaculate Conception early in the morning, well before the arrival of the pontiff.
People cheered and waved flags as they watched on the big screen in the churchyard showing the pope's landing at the airport. When Pope Francis arrived at the church, he walked through the crowd greeting and blessing people.
Pope Francis said a Mass for the minuscule Catholic community in Shi'ite Muslim Azerbaijan, urging the "precious little flock" to keep the faith and paying tribute to those persecuted during the Soviet era.
The oil and gas-rich nation of about 9 million people bordering on Russia, Iran and Turkey, has only about 700 Catholics, according to Vatican figures.
Many of them are foreigners, including staff from embassies and domestic workers and some in the oil and gas industries.
Those who attended the Mass said they came out in awe.
"It was a very emotional experience. When he walked in there was an air of peace. And it's very hard to describe. It was absolutely wonderful, and we feel very honoured to be here today," said Laura, a Catholic from Britain.
"This is a great opportunity to see the Pope so close as a small community. And I could not find another country, as I said because we are a small group here. And it was a great experience even to touch his hands and get a bless(ing) from him," added Emilia from Venezuela.
Francis, who arrived in Baku from neighbouring Georgia and returns to Rome on Sunday night, also paid tribute to Christians who were persecuted by the Communists.
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