Apostolic Palace, Vatican City
04 December 2015

President Aquino capped his official visit to Italy by meeting His Holiness Pope Francis at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City.

The President and his delegation were first received at the Courtyard of Saint Damasus by Swiss guards and Vatican authorities that included the Prefect of the Pontifical Household, Commandant of the Pontifical Swiss Guard and Gentleman of His Holiness, prior to his meeting with Pope Francis.

Lasting for more than half an hour, the President said in a press briefing that he asked for the Pope’s blessings and prayers when they talked. They also got the chance to exchange presents.

President Aquino gave Pope Francis a white china tea set with Philippine emblems designed by Mr. Ito Kish plus a box of fresh Philippine mangoes.

Pope Francis then gave the Chief Executive a bronze sculpture and copies of the encyclical letter “Laudato Si’ of the Holy Father on care for our common home” and his apostolic exhortation called “Evangelii Gaudium to the bishops, clergy, consecrated persons and the lay faithful on the proclamation of the gospel in today’s world”.

President Aquino also met with the Vatican Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin right after seeing Pope Francis and this where he extended another invitation for the Holy Father to come again to Manila.

Pope Francis already had an apostolic visit to the Philippines in January and held a mass in Luneta Park where millions of Catholics came to see him. He also visited Tacloban City, which was hit the worst by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

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