VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Two weeks after meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican and inviting him again to visit Lebanon, President Michel Aoun tweeted that the visit could take place as early as June.
The “Lebanese Presidency” Twitter account said, in Arabic, “President Aoun was informed by the papal ambassador that Pope Francis will visit Lebanon next June, provided that the date and program of the visit will be determined in coordination between Lebanon and the Holy See.”
Another tweet from the same account April 5 said, “The Lebanese are awaiting the visit of Pope Francis to express their gratitude for His Holiness’ interest in Lebanon and to thank him for the initiatives he took for their country and the prayers he offered to establish peace and stability in it.”
Pope Francis had invited nine Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant leaders from Lebanon to the Vatican in July for a day of prayer and reflection on Lebanon and its religious, political, social and economic challenges.
Aoun, a Maronite Catholic, met with the pope at the Vatican March 21.
While the Vatican’s statement about that meeting made no mention of a possible trip, Pope Francis repeatedly has said he would like to visit the country.
And Lebanon’s national news agency, reporting on the meeting, quoted Pope Francis as having said, “Soon I will visit Lebanon. This is a decision I have made because Lebanon remains … a model for the world.”-
The Vatican press office did not have an immediate comment on the president’s tweets.