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Rome Reports

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Most impressive gifts Pope Francis received in 2020


From books...

To food items like tea, coffee and nuts from Kenya, to this statue of a lion protecting its cubs...

Every time the pope meets with a head of state or another world leader, there is always a cordial gift exchange, and 2020 was no exception.

For instance, the president of Ukraine gave the pope this porcelain bowl with a lid handle in the form of a lamb.

Among the presents were also religious items, like this wooden staff from the ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the Holy See.

“It's from La Isabela, where the first Mass was celebrated.”

One of the most anticipated meetings this year was the one with Alberto Fernández.

The new president of Argentina gave his compatriot, the pope, a hand-crafted, woven piece made by people with disabilities. He also gave him books on coffee shops in Buenos Aires, and a statue of the slave, “Negro Manuel,” who discovered the sculpture of Our Lady of Luján.

In a year so deeply impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the pope also received several practical gifts to address the global crisis.

The president of Slovakia for instance, gave him thousands of coronavirus tests provided by Slovakian scientists. She also gave him a modern image of Our Lady of Sorrows, patroness of her country.

He also met with four Italian siblings, all nurses, who, during the most difficult moment of the pandemic, brought the pope two gifts: their work scrubs and a so-called “box of tears.”

RAFFAELE MAUTONE
Nurse

“We collected letters from patients and healthcare workers, recounting their experiences during the pandemic. These represent their tears. The nurse's uniform represents the sweat and the love of life. Love of life has to be more contagious than the virus. We wrote to the pope, requesting an audience to deliver these items. A few months later, they responded that they would be happy to welcome us.”

During these meetings, the pope usually gives his guests rosaries with his emblem; medals commemorating the current year of his pontificate; sculptures representing peace; and a collection of written works from his pontificate.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi
Translation: CT