On November 7-8, President Gitanas Nausėda and First Lady Diana Nausėdienė are leaving for a visit to Italy. The President and the First Lady will visit the Holy See and meet with Pope Francis. During the visit, bilateral meetings with President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti are also scheduled.
“The meeting with Pope Francis is a highly important and meaningful event in Diana’s and my life. I will thank the Pope for his continued consideration for Lithuania and its people and his prayers. Lithuania has always felt the support of the Holy See, especially during the occupation. We are grateful for the condemnation of oppression and encouragement to strive for freedom. The Holy See had never recognized the Soviet occupation and strengthened the hearts of our people. I am going to draw inspiration and fortitude from the Holy Father and will pass the best wishes on behalf of the people of Lithuania”, said the President before the visit.
After the meeting with the Pope, the President will meet with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, to discuss bilateral relations and foreign policy issues.
During the visit to the Vatican, the President and the First Lady will see the Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Chapel of Our Lady of the Gates of Dawn and the Chapel of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Accompanied by the Rector of St. Casimir’s College, priest Audrius Arštikaitis, they will visit the tombs of Saint Peter and Pope John Paul II.
In Rome, the President will meet with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti. During meetings with state officials, the President will discuss bilateral political, economic and cultural relations, as well as cooperation in the EU and NATO. Regional security issues in the Baltic States, threats posed by Russia as well as migration issues should also be addressed.
The agenda of the visit also includes a meeting with Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto, the Grand Master of the Order of Malta. Lithuania has been fostering relations with the Order of Malta for 27 years. The Order of Malta is also close to the First Lady who has actively joined the events initiated by the Order of Malta in Lithuania and supports their ideas of humanitarian aid around the world. Diana Nausėdienė was a patron of a charity campaign the Little Heart Houses Big Ideas organized on September 6 by the Order of Malta and will open the Maltese Soup event in December to raise funds for the needy.
The President and The First Lady will visit the Pontifical Lithuanian St. Casimir’s College, founded after World War II, when dozens of Lithuanian priests and clerics settled in Rome. The College played the role of the Lithuanian representation, united Lithuanians and became a true center of Lithuanian culture. To date, the College promotes the national spirit, houses the Lithuanian community, and hosts community events. The first couple will meet with the Lithuanian community in Rome.
A separate program is drawn up for the First Lady. Diana Nausėdienė will visit the Catacombs of St. Sebastian, the headquarters of the Italian Red Cross, and the Church of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Gesù), accompanied by priest Mindaugas Malinauskas, she will also make a stop at the tomb of the first Lithuanian cardinal Jurgis Radvila and learn about the history of the Jesuit Order.