Danko: We’d Give Anything for Pope Francis to Visit Slovakia

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Pope Francis meeting Slovakia's Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko and Parliamentary Vice-chair Bela Bugar (photo by TASR)

Vatican, June 22 (TASR) – All people in Slovakia would give anything for Pope Francis to visit their country, said Slovak Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko (Slovak National Party/SNS) at the Vatican on Wednesday.

Danko had been granted a papal general audience along with Parliamentary Vice-chair Bela Bugar (Most-Hid), also briefly meeting Pope Francis directly on Saint Peter’s Square.

“The plea of believers in Slovakia is huge, that’s why I dared to ask him. I told him that we’re a small state and that we’d appreciate it even if he stopped in Slovakia just for a brief moment when he travels to Poland in July,” stated Danko.

Danko forwarded the plea to representatives of a bishop’s office because it’s essential to discuss this with the clergy as well. “I don’t have the right to comment on how realistic his visit to Slovakia might be, but I’m glad that at least I was able to mention it,” stated Danko.

The SNS chief described his meeting with the Pope as very emotional. “I’m still trembling from the influx of emotions; I just can’t describe it. It’s a great honour to be able to say hello to the Holy Father, to present him with a hand-carved cross from Detva (Banska Bystrica region) and to ask him for a blessing for Slovaks, Hungarians and all minorities living in Slovakia,” added Danko.

Bugar was also starstruck from his meeting with the Pope. “Those who aren’t sensitive to positive energy can’t comprehend what it is to shake his hand and to exchange a couple of sentences. It’s an honour as well as a great emotion. I’ve fulfilled a life-long dream. Maybe he’ll visit Slovakia, as he got an invitation and he knows what it would mean for the nation. He won’t skip Slovakia, but it’s a matter of time,” said Bugar.

The official two-day visit by the Slovak delegation to the Vatican will end on Wednesday evening after its members go on a tour of the Vatican and Rome.