Tuesday 23 July 2019

Vatican flights offer heavenly fares for pilgrims

For once, the phrase "on a wing and a prayer" could be taken literally.

Yesterday 140 pilgrims lifted off from Fiumicino airport, Rome, on the Vatican's first low-cost charter flight service to Lourdes, in a Boeing 737 with the papal logo and a crew trained "in voyages of a sacred nature".

For the inaugural flight the exterior was painted white and yellow -- the papal colours -- and the interior, including the headrests, was decorated with the inscription "I search for your face, Lord".

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Vicar of Rome, and head of ORP, said that whereas in the past pilgrims went on foot and train, now people were "short of time" yet needed "spiritual solace" more than ever.

Cardinal Ruini said there were no plans for Pope Benedict XVI to use the low-cost airline, "though I shall give him a full account of this first trip".

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