Pope Francis pays respects to late Italian President
By Francesca Merlo
On Sunday, 24 September, Pope Francis went to pay his respects to the late Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, lying in state in the Nassirya Room of the Senate of the Republic.
The Holy Father's visit, according to a statement by the Holy See Press Office, came as a demonstration of his personal affection for the late President and his family, while also honouring President Napolitano's outstanding service to Italy.
On the 20th September, during the concluding remarks of his weekly General Audience, Pope Francis sent his thoughts and well-wishes to the Italian President, who at the time had been hospitalised for four months at a Roman clinic.
The Pope characterised him as a devoted 'servant of the country.' On the day of President Napolitano's death, on 22 September, the Pope sent a telegram to President Napolitano's wife in which he conveyed his appreciation for the late President's 'farsightedness' in making crucial decisions for the nation.
The President Emeritus will remain lying in state until Monday 25 September. The state funeral, which will be a secular service, is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 26 September at 11:30 in the Chamber of Deputies.