Pope Francis, Aquino exchange tokens at Vatican
VATICAN CITY— POPE FRANCIS on Friday gave President Aquino a bronze sculpture of an olive branch holding two halves of a cleft rock, which symbolizes peace and unity, as well as a copy of his encyclical on the environment, Laudate Si.
In turn, President Aquino gifted His Holiness with a porcelain tea set made by Filipino craftsman Ito Kish. The cups and saucers bear details of Philippine cultural life such as the bahay kubo, carabao, and coconut tree.
The President also gave the Pope a box of fresh mangoes.
“The sculpture cast in bronze (is) an olive branch holding two halves of a cleft rock with these words: the sculpture is a metaphor for the duty of every state and person to build a culture of peace: ‘to seek what unites, to overcome what divides,’” Communications Sec. Herminio Coloma said in a statement. Coloma was with the President’s delegation that met with the Pope.
Coloma said Mr. Aquino and Francis met at the Apostolic Palace at 10 am (5 pm in Manila), and their meeting lasted for 45 minutes.
The Apostolic Palace is the Pope’s official residence but also serves as the offices for other administrative functions of the Holy See.
At press time, there were no details available yet on what the two leaders discussed.
The President also met with the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin for about half an hour.
The meeting was followed by the unveiling and blessing of the Mosaic Image of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia at the Vatican Gardens.
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