VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis interrupted his traditional July break to meet with Prince Albert II of Monaco and his wife, Princess Charlene, at the Vatican.
According to the Vatican press office, the pope met with the royal couple July 20 and spoke privately for 25 minutes.
After their meeting, the pope presented the royal couple with a bronze depiction of a child helping another child get up from the ground; the words “love” and “help” are etched on either side of the figures.
A document included with the bronze statue stated that the image was inspired by the parable of the good Samaritan and serves as a reminder that “the call to accompany, care for and support the most vulnerable invites us to rekindle our vocation as citizens of the world to build a new bond, to look within ourselves and to develop a ‘social love.'”
Explaining the meaning of the gift, Pope Francis told Prince Albert and Princess Charlene that it depicted “the only occasion when one can look down on another: to reach out and help him or her up,” the Vatican said.
Pope Francis also presented them with several documents, including his message for the 2022 World Day of Peace and the document on human fraternity he and Sheikh Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of al-Azhar, signed in Abu Dhabi in 2019.
For his part, Prince Albert presented the pope with an artistic sketch of the Chapel of St. John the Baptist located in the Royal Palace of Monaco.