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New Custodian of the Holy Land

May 20, 2016. Friar Francesco Patton is the new Custodian of the Holy Land. He succeeds Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who was in office for the last 12 years. Friar Francesco Patton is 52 years old from Vigo Meano (Italy). He graduated in Communication Sciences from the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome and until now was the provincial minister of the Order of Friars Minor in Saint Vigilius of Trent.

Pope and French President, Francois Hollande, discuss bioethics, immigration and the family

2014-01-24

French President Francois Hollande arrived in the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis for the very first time. Upon his arrival, a full entourage welcomed him. 

"Welcome to the Vatican” 

The meeting between both heads of State was highly publicized. The Pope seemed somewhat reserved as he first greeted the president whose personal life and marriage has recently made headlines. 

Afterward, surrounded by a swarm of journalists few words were exchanged. Behind closed doors though, issues like immigration, euthanasia, abortion and gay marriage were discussed. It was back in May 2013, when France legalized gay marriage, amid several protests from opponents. 

Outside the Vatican, security was tight after a bomb went off near a French church in Rome, just hours before the Pope's meeting with Hollande. Even though a connection wasn't confirmed, additional officers were called in and St. Peter's Square was closed off for a few hours. 

Inside all seemed to go as planned. As a gift the Pope gave Hollande a papal medallion. The president gave the Pope a book on St. Francis of Assisi. 

"Well he's also your Patron Saint, right? 

"Yes, that's true”

After individually greeting Hollande's entourage, the Pope also met a French priest, Georges Vandenbeush, who was kidnapped for seven weeks in Cameroon by extremist group Boko Haram.  

"My brother”

"It's such a pleasure to meet you”

The meeting between Pope Francis and Holland lasted about 40 minutes. Afterward the president and his team met with the Vatican's Secretary of State, Msgr. Pietro Parolin

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