The President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, attended Pope Francis’ morning mass at Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican, on Thursday, April 4, 2019, reported the Holy See.
Alessandro Gisotti, Director “ad interim” of the Holy See Press Office, specified the “private” character of the Italian President’s attendance.
The Pope and the President have met several times in the past, notably during the latter’s State visit on April 18, 2015, shortly after his election.
Pope Francis sent a telegram of congratulations for the election of the 77-year-old Sicilian, on January 31, 2015.
Professor of Law, former Minister of Defense, Mattarella is a former Constitutional Judge noted for his fight against the Mafias. His brother, Piersanti Mattarella, President of the Sicilian Region, was murdered in 1980. Regarding the significance of his election, he said: My thought goes first of all to the difficulties and hopes of our citizens.”
His first public act on Saturday, January 31, 2015, was to go to the Memorial of the Ardeatine Caves, at the Gates of Rome, to pay homage to the victims — in the majority Jews — of Nazism, and to appeal for unity in the country as antidote to terrorism.
On Sunday morning, February 1, 2015, the new President walked to the church of the Holy Apostles, near Venice Square, for Mass, as anti-pollution measures blocked traffic in the historical center of Rome. The Pope himself went to the Quirinale Presidential Palace on Saturday, June 10, 2017, to meet with Present Mattarella.