News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

U.S salutes Pope Francis on 5th anniversary

Pope Francis celebrates 4th anniversary

By Prudence Arobani

The U.S. has congratulated Pope Francis on the fifth anniversary of his election to the See in Rome.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson commended the cordial relations between the U.S. and Rome.

“On behalf of the United States Government, I offer my congratulations to His Holiness Pope Francis on the fifth anniversary of his election to the See of Rome,’’Tillerson said in a statement.

“Together, the United States and the Holy See are an extraordinary force for good as we work to advance religious freedom and human rights.

“And fight terrorism and violence, combat human trafficking, prevent the spread of diseases, and seek peaceful solutions to crises around the world,” he said.

Tillerson said President Donald Trump’s historic meeting with Pope Francis on his first foreign trip in May 2017 underscored the importance of this partnership.

“I join millions of Americans in congratulating the Holy Father on this anniversary and look forward to our continued work together to promote peace, freedom, and human dignity around the world,” Tillerson said.

Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 28, 2013, a papal conclave elected Jorge Mario Bergoglio as his successor on March 13.

He chose Francis as his papal name in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi.

He is the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church, a title he holds ex officio as Bishop of Rome, and sovereign of Vatican City.

Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere.

He is also the first pope from outside Europe since the Syrian Gregory III, who reigned in the eighth century. (NAN)