Pope Jokes With Brazilian President

Fernando Henrique Cardoso Attended Brazilian´s Canonization

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2002 (Zenit.org).-John Paul II and the Brazilian President met today in an atmosphere of good humor, almost «joyful and affectionate.»

Fernando Henrique Cardoso arrived in the Vatican on Sunday to attend the canonization of the first Brazilian saint, Mother Paulina of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus (1865-1942).

After an exhausting birthday weekend, John Paul II spent a very busy Monday, attending at audiences with a seemingly renewed vigor.

The Holy Father´s conversation with Cardoso was full of humor. Speaking about the papal mission, John Paul II explained that, as Bishop of Rome, not only is he a pastor, but also «a gaucho,» a ´cowboy´ of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil).

Cardoso, who arrived with his wife, Ruth, and his 8 year-old grandson, Pedro, also answered wittily, assuring the Holy Father that «not only are you a gaucho, but also a carioca (resident of Rio de Janeiro), and a Brazilian.»

John Paul II and President Cardoso reminisced about the papal visits to Brazil, the country with the largest number of Catholics, in 1980, 1982, 1991, and 1997.

Mother Paulina of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus, was born in Trento, Italy, in 1865. She arrived in Nova Trento, Brazil, with her family when she was 9. In time she became the evangelizer of the poor and needy, founding the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.

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