President Barack Obama and Pope Francis meet for the first time
President Barack Obama and Pope Francis meet for the first time

 531    March 31, 2014


President Barack Obama gave Pope Francis a box of seeds as a gift, a fitting token as their first-ever meeting provided a fresh start of sorts between the administration and Catholic leadership after years of strained relations. "These, I think, are carrots," Obama told the Pontiff, showing him a pouch from the box, which was made from timber from the first cathedral to open in the United States, in Baltimore. The Pope gave the President two medallions -- one symbolizing the need for peace and solidarity between the two hemispheres -- and a copy of "Evangelii Gaudium," or "The Joy of the Gospel." The book was penned by the Pope and calls for a new era of evangelization and a renewed focus on the poor.

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