WYD: Pope meets privately with Portuguese political leaders
By Christopher Wells
After a public encounter with government authorities, representatives of civil society, and members of the diplomatic corps, Pope Francis travelled to the Apostolic Nunciature in Lisbon where he held private meetings with the Portuguese leaders.
The Holy Father met first with Augusto Ernesto dos Santos Silva, the President of the Assembly of the Republic since 2022. After an academic career as a professor of economics, President Santos Silva entered politics as a member of the socialist party. He has previously served as Minister of Education, of Culture, of Parliamentary Affairs, and of National Defence.
Following his audience with the President, Pope Francis met with Portugal’s Prime Minister, António Costa. His political career has involved serving as Leader of the Opposition; Mayor of Lisbon; and Minister of Internal Administration, of Justice, and of Parliamentary Affairs; as well as being a Member of the European Parliament.
The World Youth Day Medal
Pope Francis presented each of the political leaders with a World Youth Day Commemorative Medal. The medal is inscribed on one side with the Holy Father’s coat of arms and the words “Franciscus Pontifex Maximus.”
The reverse side of the medal bears an image of the Patriarchal Cathedral of Saint Mary Major, the principal Church in Lisbon, superimposed over an armillary sphere. It is surrounded by the Latin inscription “Dies Mundialis Ivventutis Lisbonae MMXXIII” (World Youth Day Lisbon 2023) with the WYD logo on the top.
Around the outside of the medal are the images of the 13 Patrons of World Youth Day, all Saints or Blesseds, who dedicated their lives to the service of young people.
In addition to the commemorative medal for World Youth Day, the President was also gifted with the gold medal of the pontificate, while the Prime Minister received the tryptich of the 10th year of Pope Francis’ pontificate.