President János Áder has invited Pope Francis to Hungary for the International Eucharistic Congress set to be held in Budapest later this year.
Speaking to public media after an audience with Pope Francis, Áder said he had visited the Vatican with the intention of inviting the pope to the International Eucharistic Congress scheduled for September 13-20.
Áder noted that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Hungary and the Holy See as well as the 30th anniversary of their re-establishment. He noted that Hungary has not had a papal visit since Pope John Paul II visited the country in 1996.
Áder said Pope Francis’s visit to Sumuleu Ciuc (Csíksomlyó), Romania, last year had been a “tremendous success” among Catholics, adding that the pontiff “would surely receive a similarly loving welcome from Hungarian believers”.
Áder said the pope showed keen interest in the programme of the congress.
Pope Francis indicated that he would be glad to visit Hungary. “His reaction cannot be considered a full commitment but it was more than a polite comment on the invitation,” Áder said.
The president confirmed Hungary’s invitation during his meeting with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. The cardinal said after the meeting that it would be an honour for him to accompany the pope on his visit to Budapest.
The pope’s recent exhortation regarding the Amazon region and our joint responsibility for the created world featured high on the agenda of talks, he said.
Áder and the pope agreed that while the past century was that of crude oil, the present one is the century of water, with humanity facing the pressing need of preserving its water resources and natural waters.
Providing an appropriate amount of quality water for the population is a challenge for each country, the president said.
Áder outlined Hungary’s efforts to promote progress in this field, including the three World Water Summits hosted by Budapest.
The president informed the pope about the Hungary Helps programme aimed at supporting persecuted Christians all over the world.
Responding to a question, Áder said there are no unsettled disputes between Hungary and the Holy See.
Áder is scheduled to meet Italian President Sergio Mattarella in the afternoon.