Pope in Brazil

Holy Father holds short meeting with President Lula da Silva

Holy Father holds short meeting with President Lula da Silva

.- The Pope's meeting with the Brazilian leader-- who had formally greeted him Wednesday afternoon when the papal plane touched down in Brazil-- took place in the Palacio dos Bandeirantes, the governor's resident in Sao Paulo.

It was mainly a private meeting and no official declaration will be made by the President's office on the meeting. At the end of the meeting at around 11:45 a.m. (local time), Pope Benedict and the President, the latter accompanied by his wife, Marisa Leticia, stood for 15 minutes in front of the cameras of the international press who were present there.

President Lula presented his gifts to the Pope, a collection of three books, the complete works of Brazilian painter Cândido Portinari. Likewise, the first Lady gave the Holy Father a portrait of the Pontiff, made by Brazilian painter Roberto Camasmie. In return, the Pope presented to both of them a Pontifical medal.

After lunch, Pope Benedict will meet  with leaders of the Brazilian hierarchy, the Pontiff will meet Thursday afternoon with representatives of other Christian denominations active in Brazil.

Later in the afternoon the Pope will address a large audience of young people gathered in a Sao Paulo's Paulo Machado de Carvalho stadium.

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