The pontiff departed for Rome on Sunday

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Credit: AP

Pope Francis‘ trip to the United States has officially drawn to a close.

The Bishop of Rome departed from Philadelphia on Sunday at 7:46 p.m. on American Airlines Boeing 777 (aka, “Shepherd 1”) to fly back to Italy after finishing up his six-day tour of the United States.

Before boarding the plane, the pontiff gave a final speech at the airport in front of Vice President Joe Biden and the Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter.

“My days with you have been brief,” the pope said. “But they have been days of great grace for me and, I pray, for you too. Please know that as I prepare to leave, I do so with a heart full of gratitude and hope.

“It was particularly moving for me to canonize Saint Jun pero Serra, who reminds us all of our call to be missionary disciples, and I was also very moved to stand with my brothers and sisters of other religions at Ground Zero, that place which speaks so powerfully of the mystery of evil. Yet we know with certainty that evil never has the last word, and that, in God’s merciful plan, love and peace triumph over all.”

Francis, who hails from Argentina, continued: “This land has been blessed with tremendous gifts and opportunities. I pray that you may all be good and generous stewards of the human and material resources entrusted to you.

“Dear friends, I embrace all of you in the Lord and I entrust you to the maternal care of Mary Immaculate, Patroness of the United States. I will pray for you and your families, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. May God bless you all. God bless America!”

The pope’s visit to the U.S. included stops in Washington D.C. and New York City. He arrived in the City of Brotherly Love on Saturday to attend the World Meeting of the Families and also meet with victims of sexual abuse, amongst other stops.

Before visiting the U.S., the pope made a tour of Cuba, where he met with former leader Fidel Castro.