Pope Francis Meets With President Nelson In The Vatican

Mar 9, 2019, 5:39 AM | Updated: 8:31 pm

VATICAN CITY—An historic moment for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Saturday morning, as President Russell M. Nelson visited with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

It is the first time in the history that a church president has met with a pope.

Eric Hawkins, director of media relations for the Church, released the following statement.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met with Pope Francis inside the Vatican Saturday, the first meeting between a Latter-day Saint president and a pope. The visit comes a day before President Nelson dedicates Church’s first temple in Rome. President Nelson was joined by President M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The meeting lasted more than half an hour and began at noon Rome time.  Following the meeting, President Nelson and President Ballard shared a few thoughts about their interaction with the Pontiff.

President Nelson talked about how gracious and kind Pope Francis is, and says he felt an instant friendship.

They discussed helping the poor of the world and continuing their work together. They talked of religious freedom, the  importance of faith to the people of the world,  helping young people better understand their faith, and preserving families.

They exchanged gifts and hugged when they said goodbye.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Roman Catholic Church have enjoyed a warm relationship in recent years, particularly in joint efforts through humanitarian relief.

The two faiths have supported efforts with the homeless and less fortunate in Salt Lake City through Catholic Community Services.

President Nelson has also met with many archbishops around the world in his travels recently and while in Rome this weekend for the dedication of the Church’s new temple, was welcomed by Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Saturday evening, President Nelson is scheduled to give a devotional program for local Italian youth and on Sunday will preside over three dedicatory sessions at the temple.

In an unprecedented move, each member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will participate in at least one dedication service, either on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday.

The Vatican released these images of the meeting.

President Russell M. Nelson presented Pope Francis with a Christus statue and a framed Proclamation on the Family in Italian during their meeting today. -Via Church Newsroom Pope Francis shakes hands with Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Russell M. Nelson Pope Francis shakes hands with Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Russell M. Ballard President Russell M. Nelson standing with Pope Francis President Nelson and President Ballard emerge from papal audience. President Nelson and President Ballard emerge from papal audience. The meeting between Pope Francis and President Nelson is the first face-to-face discussion between the leaders of the churches.

Watch KSL-5 News through Tuesday for continuing coverage from Rome on a historic weekend for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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Pope Francis Meets With President Nelson In The Vatican