Pope Francis met in the Vatican on Tuesday with Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Beshara Boutros al-Rahi, and the Maronite Church Bishops, following a special and extraordinary encounter with members of the Lebanese delegation accompanying the Patriarch on his visit.
In a brief address during the encounter, the Patriarch introduced the Lebanese delegation members to the Pope and thanked him for his warm and exceptional welcome during the Apostolic Visits and the Lebanese delegation's special meeting.
Rahi outlined the work of the Maronite Institution in following-up on the conditions of Maronites around the world, as well as organizing visits for the expatriate youth to Lebanon within a spiritual, cultural and tourism program arranged by the Institution's Academy.
In turn, the Pope thanked the Patriarch for his word, commending the Lebanese community's efforts in maintaining the creative balance between Christians and Muslims, solid as Lebanon's Cedars, and their coexistence together as citizens.
The Pope also thanked the Lebanese for their "generosity and great hearts in welcoming the displaced Syrians, whose number exceeded one million refugees."
"I would like to give you the Apostolic blessings...May the Lord bless you all and bless your families, your country and your children," Pope Francis concluded.
It is to note that the delegation's three-hour meeting with the Pope included an open dialogue characterized by positivity and frankness, where discussions touched on issues related to the Maronite Church, the situation of Christians in the Middle East and the prevailing conditions in Lebanon.
At the end of the encounter, Patriarch al-Rahi presented the Pope with a detailed report on the aforementioned topics, in addition to a presentation on the Maronite Church and its role and mission in Lebanon, the Middle East and the Diaspora.
Source: National News Agency