March 18, 2013. (Romereports.com)
The Pope's first meeting meeting with a head of state was with a person he knows very well, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
. She did not hide her surprise and emotion: “My God, this is incredible, it really is incredible.”Pope Francis was in a great mood and laughed several times
along with the president, who seemed a bit unaware about papal protocol.“Who beings, me or the Holy Father?”
Kirchner gave the Pope a brown scarf for the cold months that remain ahead in Rome.
She also brought him a bag with all the equipment to make mate, the traditional beverage of Argentina, that the Pope welcomed with a smile. The president was at the center of another memorable moment, unclear on whether she could physically touch the Pope.“I can't touch him! Or, can I?”
The Pope gave her a bas-relief of St. Peter's Square, and a kiss to thank her.“It's a carving of St. Peter's Square.”“To place on the wall?”
In addition, the Pope also gave him a book on ethics and social problems from a Catholic point of view.
The Argentine president arrived in Rome with several other government leaders and two ministers. One of them was confirmed by Pope Francis.“Here is one confirmed by Your Holiness.”
After the informal meeting, the Pope invited them to lunch at Casa Santa Marta.
On Tuesday, they will be at the Inauguration Mass at St. Peter's Square, along with more than 130 other delegations and some 50 religious groups.