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Pope Francis Receives Chief Minister, Mrs Picardo And Children in a Private Audience

The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, Mrs Justine Picardo, together with their children, Sebastian, Oliver and Valentina, were received today in a Private Audience by His Holiness the Pope, Francis at the Vatican.

The Chief Minister said: "I was greatly honoured to have time to speak privately with the Holy Father today.

“I presented Pope Francis with the good wishes of the People of Gibraltar and I took a message of best wishes from the Bishop, Monsignor Carmel Zammit, on behalf of the Catholic Church in Gibraltar.

“I left His Holiness with a gold medal of our Lady of Europe, presented on behalf of Her Majesty's Government of Gibraltar for the People of Gibraltar.

“I enjoyed my time with Pope Francis enormously and felt honoured and greatly humbled to have time to speak openly and freely with Pope Francis in private.

“His very presence exudes peace and a feeling of deep tranquility combined with good humour and great advice.

“The reception Pope Francis afforded my wife and children was overwhelmingly warm, friendly and welcoming in every respect.

“I will value the time I spent with Pope Francis and the wisdom in the words he shared with me."

The Chief Minister was accompanied by Principal Private Secretary, Peter Canessa.