St Vincent and the Grenadines prime minister meets with Pope Francis

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has met Pope Francis discussing matters of common interest, according to a release from the Vatican.

It said that Gonsalves, who is leading a delegation that includes members of his family, met with the head of the Roman Catholic Church on Thursday.

The release said that the visiting St. Vincent and the Grenadines head of government also met with the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

“The colloquial discussions focused on matters of common interest such as the defence of life and the family, education and interreligious dialogue,” the statement said, adding that “mention was made of various issues regarding the countries in the area and collaboration within the ambit of regional organizations”.

A video posted on the Internet shows the Pontiff telling Gonsalves “I hope you feel at home,” who responded by saying “thank you very much. I’m so honoured to be here with you.

Gonsalves gave the Pope a number of books, including his autobiography, “The Making of De Comrade” and a volume detailing several of the Grenadine islands.

The Pontiff in turn gave him a commemorative pen.

“I will keep in touch with you. God bless!” Gonsalves said at the end of the meeting.

Gonsalves left St. Vincent on Monday to visit the Vatican at the invitation of Pope Francis, the Office of the Prime Minister said in a release.