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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.

Japan's prime minister gives Pope a Japanese magic mirror

2014-06-06

Pope Francis met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.

During their brief meeting, they exchanged their thoughts on peace in Asia and nuclear disarmament. Afterward, Abe introduced several members of his government to the Pope.

But the highlight was the traditional gift exchange between the two. The Japanese leader gave the Pope a magic mirror.

At first glance, it appears to be normal. But when exposed to light, it displays an image of Christ and a cross. Early Japanese Christians used the mirror when they were persecuted.

"They had this mirror to keep their faith hidden. But when we place it under light, we can see...”

The prime minister didn't hesitate to show the Pope the mirror trick.

He also gave the Pope paintings of Paul V with Hasekura Tsunenaga, a converted samurai that visited the Vatican 400 years ago. 

For his part, Pope Francis gave Abe a different medallion that the ones he usually gives visiting world leaders.

"It shows the Angel helping Peter escape from his jail cell.”

Shinzo Abe stopped at the Vatican two days after the G7 meeting ended in Brussels. As they said goodbye, the Pope asked for prayers, to which the prime minister responded with a formal Japanese acknowledgment.


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