On Saturday, Pope Francis sent a congratulatory message to Sergio Mattarella, the 73 year old Sicilian politician who was elected as the new president of the Italian Republic.
Mattarella, who served for over 25 years as a justice of the Constitutional Court and various ministerial positions, is known for his tough stance against the Mafia. The Italian politician entered politics following the murder of his older brother in 1980 by a Mafia gunman.
The 73 year old head of state’s candidacy was backed by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Mattarella won the election after the 4th round of voting in Parliament.
In his message, the Holy Father expressed his “respectful good wishes” to the newly elected President as well as his hope that he may accept his new responsibilities “in the service of unity and harmony” for the country.
“I invoke upon your person the constant divine assistance for an enlightened action for the promotion of the common good in the wake of the authentic human and spiritual values of the Italian people,” the Pope wrote.
Concluding his message, Pope Francis invoked his apostolic blessing upon the new president and the Italian nation.