PANAMA CITY, Pope Francis strongly condemned Sunday's bombing of a Catholic church that killed at least 18 people on the southern Philippine island of Jolo.

I reiterate my strongest reprobation for this episode of violence who is once again plunging the Christian community into mouning, Francis said during an Angelus message as he wound up World Youth Day celebrations in Panama.

Pope Francis has left Panama, concluding his visit to the Central American nation for World Youth Day 2019.

President Juan Carlos Varela and first lady Lorena Castillo were on hand to bid the pontiff farewell at Tocumen International Airport in a red carpet tarmac ceremony Sunday.

As the shadows grew long, a white-uniformed band played Panama's national anthem and the pontiff stood with the first couple underneath a canopy. Onlookers waved Panamanian flags.

The Avianca-liveried jet took off Sunday evening bound for Rome, where Francis will prepare for another trip next weekend to Abu Dhabi, the first by a pope to the Arabian Peninsula.

Source: Nam News Network

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