In an interview broadcast on public television M1 on Thursday evening, Hungarian President Katalin Novák called Pope Francis’ three-day visit a joyful celebration, when “it was good to be Hungarian,” adding that it was important and uplifting not only for believing Catholics, but for all Hungarian people without exception, and a source of pride. Pope Francis has brought Hungarians closer to each other and Jesus Christ, the President stated in the interview with the Hungarian public broadcaster.
The head of state said that the Holy Father’s visit “lifted us to the heights where we can find the nation’s self-evident sense of belonging together, and we could experience this sense of belonging together.” She added that Hungarians were able to “show their best face” and put aside differences of opinion.
When asked how to maintain the gates that were opened during the visit between Hungarians of different views, she said it was “up to us” to be able to seek what unites rather than what divides.
Katalin Novák also said that
Hungary’s alliance with Pope Francis and the Vatican was based on strong foundations, because “we believe in the same values, we stand for the same Christian values”, and a new dimension of this is the commitment to peace.
Pope Francis has focused attention on Hungary and brought Hungarians closer to each other and to Jesus Christ, and has made the image of Hungary more realistic, as many people criticize the country without coming to see it. But the Pope was curious about us, he came to see what it is like to be in a country, to meet people who dare to be themselves, who are brave, who stand up for national interests, and who live Christianity in their everyday lives, the head of state pointed out.
According to Katalin Novák, the head of the Catholic Church told her at his farewell that he was not tired but recharged and that he had drawn strength from seeing what it is like for a European nation to live Christianity, to strengthen Europe and not weaken it, while not renouncing the fundamental values on which it has built its life for more than a thousand years.
Asked which were the most spiritually uplifting moments for her, the Hungarian President said that it was very good to be in communion at Sunday’s Mass, and she particularly highlighted the rite of peace, when people turned to each other with love and openness. This is what we need in our everyday life: the grace, mercy, and understanding to which the Pope also drew attention, emphasized Katalin Novák. She added that it was also memorable to conclude the farewell talk by reciting the Lord’s Prayer with the Pope.
In response to a question, she said that by taking a selfie with the Holy Father, she wanted to send a message that Christians can respond to new challenges and questions in a modern way, without forgetting what is constant: the sanctity of life and the strengthening of traditional family values.
On behalf of the Hungarian nation, Katalin Novák thanked Pope Francis for coming to Hungary once again, for embracing the Hungarian nation, for strengthening us in our commitment to our Christian roots, in our constant efforts to protect the family, and for peace. “Our hearts are full of gratitude and love,” said Katalin Novák, adding that
the Pope’s visit left memories that will be remembered by generations to come.
“I thank him for helping us Hungarians to come closer to each other and to God,” the President said, adding that she prayed for the Holy Father and asked him to keep the Hungarian nation in such a special place in his heart, as he had witnessed during his apostolic visit to Hungary.
Featured photo via Facebook/Katalin Novák