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Pope Francis greets thousands at Ecuador mass

Monday, July 06, 2015 - 01:40

Thousands of excited Ecuadoreans congregate in the coastal city of Guayaquil for Pope Francis' first mass of his South American ''homecoming'' tour. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Camped on streets with sleeping bags and stocked with food supplies, thousands of excited Ecuadoreans congregated in the coastal city of Guayaquil on Monday (July 6) for Pope Francis' first mass of his "homecoming" tour of South America. The Pope held an open-air mass at Los Samanes park on the first full day of his three-nation trip. The Argentine-born pontiff was heading south from Quito to Ecuador's second city, a steamy port sometimes referred to as the world's "banana capital," given its bustling fruit trade. After the mass, Francis was due to go to a local Jesuit-run school to visit an old friend he has not seen in three decades, the cigar-smoking Rev. Francisco Cortes. When he was a seminary director in Argentina, Francis, then Father Jorge Bergoglio, would send seminarians to the school to study theology with Cortes, now a diminutive 91-year-old Spaniard affectionately known as "Father Paquito." The pope's visit to Guayaquil takes on special significance for Ecuador, and its leftist President Rafael Correa, given it has been the epicenter of anti-government protests for weeks. Thousands have been taking to the streets in Guayaquil and elsewhere to protest tax changes and alleged state authoritarianism. Correa says the reforms will only affect the super-wealthy and accuses his foes of seeking a coup d'etat.

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Pope Francis greets thousands at Ecuador mass

Monday, July 06, 2015 - 01:40