VATICAN CITY – Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno was received on Saturday by Pope Francis for a private audience at the Vatican.
It was the first such meeting between the Pope and Moreno since the Ecuadorian politician took presidential office in May of this year.
Moreno brought the Pope several gifts, including Ecuadorian chocolate, prompting the pontiff to say “A perfect gift for those who need cholesterol.”
Francis, in turn, gave the South American leader a sculpture of an olive tree.
“I like to give this to all governments,” Francis said. “It is your task: peace.”
Ecuador’s president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 for his work raising awareness for people with disabilities.
Moreno is currently the world’s only head of state in a wheelchair, to which he has been confined after being shot in an attempted robbery in 1998.
Moreno paid the visit to the head of the Catholic Church during an official tour that will take him to Italy and Spain.
The meeting in the private audience studio lasted 42 minutes.