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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis accepts invitation from Slovak President to visit the country

The President of Slovakia, Andrej Kiska, warmly greeted Pope Francis in his native tongue, with the help of a translator. 

“Your Holiness, I bring you greetings from the entire population of Slovakia, especially the believers.”

“This is the second time that we are meeting.”

They took pictures and Pope Francis even joked about all the photographers. 

“Now, photo protocol.”

Then, the president gave four Christmas decorations to the pope. They were created by socially disadvantaged people.

“They wrote their prayer intentions on it for you, Your Holiness.”

Two of the ornaments are made by families with handicapped children and students of a primary school in Slovakia.

Another one was made by children from a children’s home and the fourth was designed by the homeless.

Then the president showed images of when he personally went to pick up these gifts.

Pope Francis gave him the little olive branch as a symbol of peace.

“I wanted to give you this simple gift, made by an artist. It is a symbol of peace.” “Also the Message of Peace from this year. I signed it for you today.”

He also gave the president a copy of his four most important works before he asked the pope to visit his country.

“This would bring an immense joy to our country and our people.”

“Now I accept the invitation... let's see when I can go.”

Before leaving, the pope asked a favor of the president. 

“President, I must ask you a favor. If you can bring this to your father from me. And this, from my heart, if you can bring it to Archbishop Bezák.”

“Thank you Your Holiness, from my heart. I wish you happy holidays. We are praying for you, we all are praying for you.”

Then they said goodbye wishing each other a Merry Christmas.