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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis meets with top delegations from Bulgaria and Macedonia

To mark the date, the Pope met with the prime minister of Bulgaria and the president of Macedonia's parliament. 

The Pope met with Bulgaria's prime minister, Marin Raykov, for about 30 minutes. 

The Pope gave him a letter opener while the prime minister gave him an engraved silver and golden colored image with scenes from the Gospel. 

The Pope also met with Trajko Valjanoski, who serves as Macedonia's president of parliament. 

He wasted no time and invited the Pope to visit his country.

"It's a great pleasure to meet with you, Holy Father. I have the honor of inviting you to visit the Republic of Macedonia. The country is ready to welcome you. 

"It's true that here we feel at home, but we would be very happy to have you as our guest. Your visit would be very important for the Republic of Macedonia.�

The Pope spoke with Valjanoski for about 20 minutes. 

The country's diplomatic corps, also extended the same invitation to the Pope. 

"We invite you to come visit us, to be the first president to visit Macedonia.�

Valijanoski gave the Pope what he described as a 'modest gift'.

"It's a modest gift from Macedonia's parliament, which reflects 1200 years of tradition."

Responding to his comment, the  Pope said his gift of a letter opener, was simple. 

"My gift is even more modest. But it's from the heart.�

Before leaving the invitation was highlighted once again. 

-"I hope we meet again in Macedonia.�

-"Hopefully, but let's pray.�

So far the only international trip Pope Francis has scheduled is to Rio Brazil, where he will lead World Youth Day. 

BR/KLH 

CTV

-JM

-BN

U:RCG