Pope Francis to Prime Minister of Lebanon: We must work to strengthen Lebanon
Pope Francis welcomed the Prime Minister of Lebanon, Najib Mikati, to the Vatican.
-"Good morning. It's a pleasure."
-"The pleasure is mine. The pleasure is mine."
They discussed the political crisis and socio-economic situation in Lebanon, as well as the Catholic Church's important role in the country.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by his wife.
-"It's a pleasure."
Pope Francis blessed a number of rosaries and other religious articles.
During the usual exchanging of gifts, the Prime Minister gave the Pope a tile from the Saint Savior Greek Melkite Catholic Church in Beirut, which was heavily damaged by the port explosion on Aug. 4, 2020.
The Prime Minister's wife gave the Pope three CDs.
-"It's a beautiful voice. Just listen to it."
Pope Francis, in turn, gave the Prime Minister a bronze sculpture of vineyard workers and a special message for Lebanon.
-"May the work and abundance of the Earth be for all of Lebanon a message of salvation."
As well as this year's message for peace and other important pontifical texts.
Then Pope Francis addressed the Prime Minister's family and staff gathered at the Vatican. The Pope acknowledged the difficult period Lebanon is going through and called for cooperation to get the country back on its feet.
"We must strive, work, to strengthen Lebanon, because it is a country, a message, but it is also a promise. I assure you of my prayers, my closeness and also my work speaking diplomatically with countries that can unite with Lebanon to help it get back on its feet."
The Pope invited those present, Muslims and Christians, to spend a few moments praying silently for Lebanon.
Their audience concluded with various group photos.