By Benedict Mayaki, SJ
At the end of his 3-day Apostolic Journey to the Republic of Kazakhstan, Pope Francis departed the Central Asian nation on Thursday afternoon, aboard the papal plane which took off from the Nur-Sultan International Airport at 5:17 PM local time.
The Pope’s departure was preceded by a departure ceremony at the airport, where the Kazakh president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, officially bade him farwell.
The Holy Father has spent the last three days visiting the Kazakh capital, which was the venue for the 7th Congress of leaders of World and Traditional Religions which took place from 14 -15 September.
The Pope participated in the Interfaith Congress and addressed participants during the opening and plenary session on Wednesday and the closing session on Thursday.
The journey also presented the Pope the opportunity to meet with Kazakh authorities, members of the clergy and the faithful.
A high-point of his visit was the celebration of the Holy Mass presided over by the Holy Father at the Expo grounds on Wednesday.
The Holy Father is scheduled to arrive in Rome on Thursday evening at around 8 PM Rome time.