Beirut, 2 February 2022 (TDI): President Aoun welcomed Secretary of the Holy See for Inter-State Relations, Monsignor Richard Paul Gallagher who was heading the Vatican Delegation.

Monsignor Gallagher is visiting Lebanon at the request of the Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis. Monsignor Gallagher opened his speech by conveying the Pope’s regards and blessings to Lebanon.

Moreover, he added that Lebanon deserves exceptional attention because the Middle East looks to it as a message for the future. Hence, the necessity of preserving the national identity of this country. Therefore, if the situation develops positively, the matter will be reflected in the region. 

He added: “A strong and united Lebanon can set an example for the whole of the Middle East, with its Christians and Muslims, in the service of the common good for all.

Additionally, the Secretary of the Holy See stressed that Pope Francis expressed his desire to visit Lebanon. In his speech to the diplomatic corps in 2021, Pope Francis talked about Lebanon.

He said that Christians, through their educational, health, and humanitarian work, constitute an integral part of the social and historical fabric of Lebanon. It is imperative to ensure that Christians can continue their efforts for the sake of the country they were from.

 Furthermore, any weakening of the Christian presence would destroy the internal balance and the identity of Lebanon.

Press interview with Monsignor Gallagher

Nonetheless, a dialogue took place between the journalists and Monsignor Gallagher. A reporter asked if the Supreme Pontiff will visit Lebanon this year.

Monsignor replied that the Pope assured him before he started this visit, that he wants to come to Lebanon, very soon. But it remains for them to define the meaning of the word soon. Adding: “He wants to come and he will come”. 

Finally, Monsignor Gallagher wrote the following phrase in the presidential palace’s ceremonial register: 

“I bring to Lebanon the prayers of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and his best wishes for his people who are facing great challenges, praying to the Almighty God to prove Lebanon’s steps on the path of recovery, cooperation and love.”