Pope Francis and Brazil’s President Lula Embrace During Visit| National Catholic Register

Pope Francis wrote a letter to Lula in May 2019 when the influential statesman was imprisoned on corruption charges of which he was later cleared.

Pope Francis said a meeting with Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at the Vatican on Wednesday took place in an atmosphere of “great sympathy and friendship,” the Vatican said.

The two can be seen embracing in photos shared by the Brazilian president’s photographer June 21.

Pope Francis and Lula have known each other for years. Francis wrote a letter to Lula in May 2019 when the influential statesman was imprisoned on corruption charges of which he was later cleared.

According to the Vatican, Wednesday’s 45-minute meeting, which included Lula’s wife, took place in a study next to the Paul VI Hall rather than in the apostolic palace. The Paul VI Hall is closer to Francis’ residence, where he is currently convalescing following an abdominal surgery earlier this month.

Lula also spoke with Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the No. 2 in the Secretariat of State, during the visit.

The topics of conversation included the socio-political situation in Brazil, the promotion of peace and reconciliation, the fight against poverty and inequality, respect for the indigenous population of Brazil, and protection of the environment, the Vatican said in a brief statement.

Pope Francis meets with Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at the Vatican on Wednesday, June 21, 2023. Credit: Vatican Media

Pope Francis meets with Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at the Vatican on Wednesday, June 21, 2023. Credit: Vatican Media

Lula also met Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella on Wednesday.

According to Reuters, Lula said June 17 he would invite Pope Francis to make a second visit to Brazil for Círio de Nazaré, a Catholic festival honoring Our Lady of Nazareth.

Pope Francis’ first international trip as Pope in 2013 was to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for World Youth Day.

“I want to invite him to come to Brazil again. But I wanted to invite him to come to the Círio celebration here,” Lula said during an event in the state of Pará, Reuters reported. “It would be extraordinary if he could participate.”

At the end of Pope Francis and Lula’s June 21 meeting, the first lady of Brazil, Rosângela Lula da Silva, gave the Pope a statue of Our Lady of Nazareth.

First Lady of Brazil Rosângela Lula da Silva gives Pope Francis a statue of Our Lady of Nazareth at the end of a meeting with Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at the Vatican on June 21, 2023. Credit: Ricardo Stuckert/Office of the President of Brazil

First Lady of Brazil Rosângela Lula da Silva gives Pope Francis a statue of Our Lady of Nazareth at the end of a meeting with Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at the Vatican on June 21, 2023. Credit: Ricardo Stuckert/Office of the President of Brazil

The Círio de Nazaré festival in the northern city of Belém starts in August, with the main festivities concluding in a grand procession on the second Sunday of October.

The annual festival is the largest religious gathering in Brazil, with an estimated 2 million people participating in the main procession.

The celebration began in 1793 after the devotion was brought to Brazil by Portuguese colonizers.

It was inscribed in 2013 in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanit


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