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Pope Francis makes impromptu appearance in Quito

A group of young people wave flags representing the colors of Vatican City as they wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Samanes Park in Guayaquil, Ecuador (PA)

Pope Francis has made an impromptu trip outside the Quito residence of the Apostolic Nuncio, where he is staying during his time in Ecuador.

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis greeted the large and vociferous crowd, who were singing a song of welcome to the Holy Father. They had also been shouting for the Pope to come out and see them.

When he appeared outside the residence last night, Pope Francis reportedly lead the crowd in prayer and then asked them to leave so “the neighborhood can sleep.”

Later today, Pope Francis travels to the Ecuadorean port of Guayaquil for a Mass that is expected to draw more than a million people.

Pope Francis arrived in Ecuador on Sunday at the start of a short tour of three Latin American countries.

After a 12-hour flight from Rome, the Pope participated in a brief welcoming ceremony at Quito’s Mariscal Sucre Airport, telling government dignitaries, bishops and special guests that his pastoral work before becoming Pope had taken him to Ecuador many times.

“Today, too, I have come as a witness of God’s mercy and of faith in Jesus Christ,” he said.

Francis will also visit Bolivia and Paraguay, returning to Rome on July 12.