A personal encounter with Pope Francis

The Lay Cente students Venerable Varasami (far right), a Buddhist monk from Myanmar, and Assel Baiturlina, a Muslim student from Kazakhstan, met Pope Francis after a general audience Feb. 4.

The Lay Centre students Venerable Varasami (far right), a Buddhist monk from Myanmar, and Assel Baiturlina (to his immediate right), a Muslim student from Kazakhstan, met Pope Francis after a General Audience, 4 February.

Two residents of The Lay Centre met Pope Francis.

Venerable Varasami, a Buddhist monk from Myanmar, and Assel Baiturlina, a Muslim student from Kazakhstan, had the opportunity to greet the leader of the universal Catholic Church after the General Audience, 4 February.

The two students were in the first row of those assembled for the audience in the Paul VI Hall.

During his short exchange with the Pope, Varasami said he thanked the pontiff on behalf of the people of Myanmar for the gift of a new cardinal, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo. The Salesian archbishop of Yangon was named to the College of Cardinals in early January and was elevated to the cardinalate at the consistory in mid-February. The Pope, in turn, asked for prayers, he said.

Both Assel and Varasami lived at The Lay Centre during the fall semester during their studies in Rome.

They came to Rome for one semester on a study grant from the Nostra Aetate Foundation, which was established in 1990, under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, as a means of promoting and supporting dialogue between Christians and believers of other religions in different countries around the world.

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