VATICAN CITY – Prime Minister Perry Christie yesterday made history in Vatican City by becoming the first Bahamian prime minister to have an audience with the pope in the Vatican.
The audience took place at 10:30 a.m. in the papal offices appurtenant to St. Peter’s Basilica.
Christie was joined in the delegation by Mrs Christie, Ministers Fred Mitchell, Ryan Pinder and Senior Policy Advisor Sir Baltron Bethel.
Later, the entire Bahamian delegation joined the pope and the prime minister and took individual photos with the pontiff.
The pope and the prime minister spoke privately for 20 minutes before being joined by the others, according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The prime minister paid tribute to the Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas and thanked the pontiff for the thousands of Catholics who contributed to the development of the country.
He spoke of the great pride that The Bahamas has in its native son Archbishop Patrick Pinder.
The prime minister spoke of his special son Adam, and the work the government is doing in serving the poor in the Urban Renewal programme and children with special needs.
He spoke also of the work of the church in education generally and in migrant issues. The prime minister recommitted himself to helping the poor and the under privileged.
Following the papal audience, the two exchanged gifts and the pope greeted each person in the prime minister’s party with the words: “You must pray for me. I will pray for you.”
Christie presented the pope with a book showing a collection of Bahamian art works, a collection
by Dawn Davies and a book on the 40th anniversary of independence by Wendall Jones’ Jones Communications Network. (The Nassau Guardian)
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