“A memorable meeting”: President of Cape Verde on Encounter with Pope Francis in Rome

The President of Cape Verde, José Maria Pereira Neves with Pope Francis in Rome. Credit: Vatican Media

The President of Cape Verde, José Maria Pereira Neves, has described his Friday, June 14 audience with Pope Francis at the Apostolic Place in Rome as “memorable”.

In a Facebook post shortly after the encounter, President Neves stated that Pope Francis is “one of the most prominent leaders of the 21st century.”

“Earlier this morning, I was received by His Holiness Pope Francis at the Apostolic Palace, exactly 10 years after, as Prime Minister, I met him at the Vatican as part of the exchange of the Instruments of Ratification of the Legal Agreement signed between Cape Verde and the Holy See on June 10, 2013,” the Cape Verdean President said.

He added, “The Holy Father mentioned Cape Verde to me with a mixture of emotion, pride, and deep respect.”

“It was a memorable meeting. We talked above all about peace and fraternity in the world, freedom of spirit, and the dignity of the human person,” he further stated. 


During the meeting with Pope Francis, President Neves continued, “I reiterated my invitation for him to visit the islands, as part of the celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the creation of the Diocese of Santiago de Cabo Verde, and our desire for the beatification of Manuel Costa Ríos, better known as Negro Manuel, who left Cape Verde for Argentina in the 17th century and became the guardian of a shrine in the town of Luján.” 

“Pope Francis has been an inspiring leader and has tackled today's most burning issues such as geo-strategic wars, climate change, poverty, inequality, and migration with great wisdom and magnanimity,” President Neves said.

In a statement following the audience, officials of the Holy See Press Office say the Cape Verdean President also had an audience with the Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, accompanied by the Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher.

They note that during the cordial talks, held at the Secretariat of State, “the good relations between the Holy See and Cape Verde were emphasized, and some aspects of the country’s social and economic situation were discussed, as well as the application of the bilateral Agreement ratified in 2014.”

“There followed an exchange of views on international current affairs, with particular reference to security problems, ongoing conflicts in the world, migratory phenomena, and human trafficking,” officials of the Holy See Press office say.

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In June 2013, Cape Verde and the Holy See signed the Concordat, an international legal instrument, through which the Cape Verdean State recognizes the legal personality of the Catholic Church, as well as certain privileges and benefits, all compatible with the provisions of the country's Constitution.

João Vissesse is an Angolan Journalist with a passion and rich experience in Catholic Church Communication and Media Apostolate.