The Holy Father received President Emile Lahoud of Lebanon on Saturday May 15, who was in Rome for Last Sunday’s canonization of Blessed Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini, a Maronite monk and the third Lebanese to be canonized. St. Charbel, a Maronite monk and hermit, was canonized in 1977 and St. Rafqa, a Maronite nun, was canonized in 2001.
Recalling “the happy memories” of his trip to Lebanon in 1997, the Pope said he prays that “God will help all Lebanese to consolidate their nation’s unity, in harmony and respect for all those who comprise it and I hope that the canonization of a native son, Fr. Nimatullah Al-Hardini, will be for your fellow citizens an example of fraternal life. I also ask God to sustain the efforts by all men of good will in favor of peace, especially in the Middle East region, so very tried by unacceptable violence.”