Pope Francis' visit was a joyful celebration, an occasion when it was good to be Hungarian
In her interview given to public media, Katalin Novák called the three-day visit of Pope Francis a joyful celebration, when it was "good to be Hungarian". She emphasized that the visit was important, uplifting and a source of pride not only for believing Catholics, but for all Hungarians without exception. Pope Francis brought the Hungarians closer to one another and to Jesus Christ – the President of Hungary assessed the visit of the Catholic Pontiff to Hungary in her interview broadcast on television channel M1.
The Head of State said: the visit of the Holy Father "has lifted us to the heights where we can find the self-evident togetherness of the nation, and we had the opportunity to experience this sense of belonging".
The President added that Hungarians "put their best foot forward" and put aside differences of opinion.
In response to the question about how the gates that opened between Hungarians of different mindsets during the visit could be kept open, the President answered "it only depends on us" if we will be able to look for what unites us rather than what separates us.
Katalin Novák also spoke of the fact the Hungary’s alliance with Pope Francis and the Vatican is predicated on strong foundations, because „we believe in the same values, we stand up for the same Christian values. A new dimension of this is the way we both stand up for peace”.
Pope Francis directed attention to Hungary and brought the Hungarians closer to one another and to Jesus Christ. Pope Francis’ visit also portrayed Hungary in a more realistic light, as many criticise the country without seeing it for themselves. But the Pope was interested in us, he wanted to experience what it's like to be in a country and meet people who dare to be their genuine selves, are courageous, stand up for their national interests and live Christianity in their daily lives – the Head of State noted.
According to Katalin Novák’s account, when saying good-bye, the Catholic Pontiff told her that he was not tired, but recharged after the visit, and that he drew strength from seeing a European nation living its Christianity, a nation that wishes to strengthen Europe rather than weaken it, without abandoning the fundamental values on which it has built its life for over a thousand years.
Talking about Pope Francis’ meeting with young people, the Head of State said: she has been to places in the world where "on paper, there is more freedom than in Hungary", and yet young people complain that they do not dare to profess their Christianity in public.
However, Hungary is striving to ensure that young people openly professing their Christianity should also feel free, President Novák said.
In response to a question about the moments she found most spiritually uplifting, the Head of State said that being in a community at the Holy Mass on Sunday was a profound experience, and pointed to the rite of exchanging the greeting of peace, that is to say when people turned to each other with love and an open heart.
We need the same in everyday life as well: grace, mercy and understanding, which the Pope also emphasized. – Katalin Novák highlighted.
The President went on to add that she will also cherish as a fond memory when – in closing of their farewell discussion- they recited the Lord’s Prayer together.
In response to a question, President Novák explained that with her selfie with the Holy Father she intended to send the message that Christians can respond to new challenges and questions in a modern and up-to-date manner, while not forgetting what is constant: the sanctity of life, the affirmation of traditional family values.
In her video message on Thursday posted in the Pope’s mother tongue, Spanish, the Head of State emphasized that the visit of the Holy Father gave us strength, hope and confirmation.
On behalf of the Hungarian nation, Katalin Novák thanked Pope Francis for having visited us in Hungary again, for having embraced the Hungarian nation, having affirmed us in standing up for our Christian roots, the protection of the family and in our unwavering efforts for peace.
"Our hearts are full of gratitude and love" – Katalin Novák emphasized. As she said, the Pope's visit left memories that will be remembered by generations to come.
"I thank Pope Francis for having helped us, Hungarians to get closer to one another and the Lord God " – the President of Hungary said, adding: I pray, we pray for the Holy Father and I ask him to keep the Hungarian nation in the distinguished place in his heart witnessed during his apostolic visit to Hungary.