President Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona will visit the Vatican and will have an audience with Pope Francis.
Carmona leaves Trinidad and Tobago on July 4 and returns July 10. He will meet Pope Francis at 11 a.m. on July 6.
An official at the President’s office told the Express that the Pope wrote to Carmona inviting him on a State visit.
The official said the Catholic Church in Trinidad has been informed of the visit. Carmona will be accompanied by his wife, Reema. The official said the formal note was sent last week and the confirmation letter came yesterday.
Fr Rochard, who is Carmona’s parish priest, said it was a good gesture. He said the Vatican ambassador, Papal Nuncio (Nicola Girasoli) would have arranged the meeting.
“The Vatican is a state like all the other states in the world. Trinidad and Tobago is also a state. We have diplomatic relations between this country and the Vatican. So visiting the Vatican as a Catholic is one experience. Visiting the Vatican as a state when he is the head of state is another experience. So there are two levels at which he is going. He is first and foremost a Catholic. And whatever the reasons why he was chosen to be President, he has not hid his Catholic identity. In his inaugural speech he made reference to a previous pope, Pope John Paul 11, who landed here,” Rochard noted.