PRESIDENT Anthony Carmona (Trinidad and Tobago also a "Devoted Catholic ") is due to meet Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, on a State visit to Vatican, Rome, Italy next week. Carmona is scheduled to leave for Rome next Thursday, July 4, and will have an audience with the Pope on Saturday, July 6. Newsday understands His Excellency was invited to meet the Pope when he was listed by the Vatican as being among the few Heads of State who are followers of the Catholic faith. Carmona will make the official visit with his wife, Reema. Newsday was unable to confirm whether their children, Christian, 11, and Anura, eight, will make the trip. Newsday has learned that Archbishop of Port-of-Spain Joseph Harris was last month notified by the Vatican of the invitation to Carmona to make the State visit. Carmona attends the Church of the Assumption, Maraval and St Theresa’s RC Church, Woodbrook. Efforts to contact officials of the Archdiocese in Port-of-Spain were unsuccessful but there are reports that the Catholic community in Port-of-Spain and Fyzabad, where Carmona grew up, are overjoyed by the Vatican’s invitation. It will be the Vatican’s first invitation to a Head of State in Trinidad and Tobago, to visit the Holy See. His Excellency will be afforded all of the protocols associated with a Head of State’s visit to the Vatican. Carmona’s cousin, Sister Antonette Fahay, principal of the Home for the Mentally Retarded in Vistabella, could not be reached last night for a comment, but a source said she was elated by the Vatican’s invitation. Coincidently, Carmona leaves for Italy on the day his father, Dennis Stephen Carmona celebrates his 88th birthday. Newsday was unable to ascertain the duration of Carmona’s visit and when he will return to the country. On Monday, Carmona appointed four commissioners to the Integrity Commission, and they are expected to be sworn in and issued their instruments of appointment before the President leaves for Rome. The controversy surrounding the commission’s chairman Kenneth Gordon meeting at his Glencoe home with Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley is ongoing with the Law Association, being the latest organisation to deem Gordon’s action as wrong and improper.
Story Updated: Jul 6, 2013 at 10:41 PM ECT
Carmona left Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday night with his wife, Reema, his two children, his aide-de-camp, an assistant and a security officer.
They arrived in Rome and were officially received at the airport by Vatican officials and the Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago to the Holy See Margaret Allison King-Rousseau.
A statement from the Apostolic Nunciature in St Clair yesterday said following the receiving ceremony, Carmona and his delegation were escorted by motorcades of Italian police to their hotel in Rome.
Carmona’s itinerary at the Vatican was precisely mapped out, so that at he and his delegation, escorted by Italian police were accompanied at the border of the Italian and Vatican states (Saint Peter’s Square).
By Vatican police were expected to escort Carmona and the delegation through Vatican City at the Courtyard San Damaso, where they were to receive the official honours by the Swiss Guard and other Vatican authorities.
At President Carmona was introduced by His Excellency Msgr Gänswein to the Private Studio of Pope Francis for a private meeting, while the delegation stayed in the library with the Chief of Protocol and other Vatican officials.
Pope Francis and Carmona left the private studio of the Pope for the library where Carmona would have presented the members of his family and the delegation to Pope Francis.
Following which there would have been an exchange of gifts.
Carmona and his delegation were expected to return to Vatican City at led by a protocol official to visit the Sistine Chapel, which is a selected section of the Vatican Museum (Raphael’s Rooms) and Saint Peter’s Basilica.
I am reminded of this story
Cover Story: The Holy Alliance
Only President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II were present in the Vatican Library on Monday, June 7, 1982. It was the first time the two had met, and they talked for 50 minutes. In the same wing of the papal apartments, Agostino Cardinal Casaroli and Archbishop Achille Silvestrini met with Secretary of State Alexander Haig and Judge William Clark, Reagan's National Security Adviser. Most of their discussion focused on Israel's invasion of Lebanon, then in its second day; Haig told them Prime Minister Menachem Begin had assured him that the invasion would not go farther than 25 miles inside Lebanon.
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,159069,00.html#ixzz2YVOu2RiR
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