President Michael D. Higgins is expected to meet with Pope Francis during a visit to Rome next week.
The visit, which is set to take place in the Vatican’s Papal Library, will be the first private meeting between the two heads of state. President Higgins previously met the Pontiff at the papal inauguration ceremony in 2013.
The president, accompanied by his wife Sabina, addressed Pope Francis in both Spanish and Irish, wishing him every success in his mission for the Church.
“My wish for you on behalf of the people of Ireland is for the best of health in your mission on behalf of all of humanity,” he said.
After being received by Pope Francis in an audience on Monday, President Higgins will meet with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State for the Vatican.
Meanwhile, President Higgins will receive His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St Mark, at Áras an Uachtaráin today (Thursday).
Pope Tawadros II will be accompanied by a number of archbishops and will have a private meeting with the President.