Pope Francis received a visit from the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda. They talked about the invasion of Ukraine, the reception of refugees and peace in Europe.
President Duda asked the Pope to visit his country telling him that it would be an intimate gesture for the two million Ukrainian refugees in Poland. He added that it would be like visiting two countries at once.
The Polish First Lady later joined the meeting. She presented the Pope with several gifts. Among them was a portrait of Stefan Wyszyński, a recently beatified Polish cardinal who was instrumental in supporting resistance movements in communist Poland.
Other gifts included a record by Chopin, one of the Pope's favorite artists, and a photo album from President Duda's last term in office and an image of his previous papal meeting. Seeing the photo made the two laugh.
The Pope presented them with a St. Martin medal and, as is his custom when meeting with heads of state, the principal texts of his papacy and his message of peace for 2022.
This year's message of peace. I signed it for you today.
At the end of his visit, Pope Francis said goodbye to the first lady in German. Although she is Polish, she is also a German teacher and the Pope knows German because he studied theology in Frankfurt.
Thank you very much for your visit. Please pray for me.
He also asked for prayers from President Duda, who knelt down to kiss his hand. The President and his wife then met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Foreign Minister Monsignor Paul Richard Gallagher.