When Pope Francis meets with world leaders, he always represents the smallest nation. But this time, the other state wasn't much bigger.
On Monday at the Vatican, the Pope held 'cordialâ? talks with the Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams.
The two-island nation has a population of under 100,000. And there are about 9,000 Catholics living there.
The two smiled as they sat down for a 20-minute private meeting. They discussed how the Catholic Church contributes to life on the islands, as well as migration and climate change.
After introducing several members of his family, the two exchanged gifts. The governor-general gave the Pope a colorful painting of school children, and he beamed as he studied it.
Pope Francis gave the leader copies of 'Evangelii Gaudiumâ? and 'Laudato Si,â? along with a medallion that represents peace.
As his guests departed, Pope Francis made a familiar request to the governor-general's wife, though in an unfamiliar language.
'Pray for me.â?
'I'm going to.â?
And he also reminded the leader to do the same thing.
'Pray for me. And don't forget.â?
The visit is just the latest move to strengthen ties between the states. Antigua and Barbuda also recently appointed an Ambassador to the Holy See.