(Reuters) – Pope Francis showed his sense of humor during the last few hours of his trip to Ecuador on Wednesday, straying from a prepared speech to joke with people who came to see him at a shrine near the highland capital Quito.
“I have a prepared script but I don’t want to read it,” said the 78-year-old pope to laughs from the crowd, before asking them to pray for him so that he would never forget where he came from.
“Do not fall into a spiritual Alzheimer’s, do not forget!” Francis added in a totally improvised speech.
The Argentine-born pontiff headed to Bolivia on Wednesday afternoon after drawing about 1.5 million people to Masses in Ecuador on the first leg of a “homecoming” tour, where he urged the world to take better care of the environment and the poor. He also spoke at a home for the elderly in Quito on Wednesday.