Pope Francis left Bangladesh on Saturday afternoon at the end of a high-stakes South Asia tour that was dominated by the plight of the Rohingya ethnic minority fleeing violence in Myanmar.
The Catholic leader flew out of Dhaka with a Bangladesh Biman flight for Rome after a three-day visit to Bangladesh, during which he held an emotional meeting with 16 Rohingya refugees and asked for their forgiveness.
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Pope Francis, right, kisses a child as he meets with sick people and staff members of the Mother Teresa House clinic in Dhaka's Tejgaon neighborhood on Saturday, December 2, 2017 AFP
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Pope Francis, right, is greeted by nuns during his visit to the Mother Teresa House clinic in Dhaka's Tejgaon neighborhood on Friday, December 2, 2017 AFP
The pontiff visited a hospital in Dhaka run by the order of Mother Theresa on the final day of his visit to Bangladesh.
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Pope Francis, centre, is accompanied by children as he leaves following a visit to the Mother Teresa House clinic in Dhaka's Tejgaon neighborhood on Saturday, December 2, 2017 AFP
The pope returns to Rome on Saturday having led well-attended open-air masses in Bangladesh and Myanmar, which both have small Christian populations.
In the morning he was greeted by hundreds of Bangladeshi nuns at the Mother Teresa House clinic, all dressed in the blue-and-white habit favoured by the woman who dedicated her life to the region's poorest.
Earlier he paid tribute to the works of Catholics in Bangladesh, where schools and clinics run by the church provide a lifeline for poor communities.
"I am sure if the pope touches my head and prays for me, I'll be cured," Ananda Hira, a kidney patient who receives dialysis at the clinic, said ahead of the visit. "God listens to his prayers."