February 23, 2013. (Romereports.com)
After the conclusion of his spiritual exercises, Benedict XVI bid farewell to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano
, as his pontificate enters the final stretch.
Napolitano and Benedict XVI have a close relationship, which was evident by the warmth they showed to each other. -“Mr. President.”
-“I am very excited about this opportunity.”
President Napolitano gave the Pope a copy of 1840 edition of the classic Italian book “The Betrothed,” meanwhile the Pope gave him a sketch.
The pontificate of Benedict XVI and Napolitano's presidency began almost simultaneously, and over time led a deepening of their friendship. This will be the Pope's last official meeting with a head of state.
-“You take care as well. I pray for Italy.”
On February 5, the Italian Embassy to the Holy See put together a concert for Benedict XVI to mark the 84 anniversary of the Lateran Accords, which gave the Vatican sovereignty. For Napolitano it was also a special occasion, since he was finishing his seventh and last year as the Italian executive.
Back then, Napolitano believed that would be his last chance to meet with the Pope and it showed during an emotion-filled speech. That farewell concert took place just six days before Benedict XVI announced his resignation.