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President Obama and Pope Francis exchanged gifts when they met the first time

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According to CNN on March 27, President Barack Obama and Pope Francis met for the very first time on Thursday at the Vatican.

The two leaders exchanged tokens of goodwill that underscored the goal of their meeting.

President Obama gave Pope Francis a custom-made seed chest containing a variety of fruit and vegetable seeds used in the White House garden. The chest was custom-made of leather and reclaimed wood from the Baltimore Basilica, one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals in the United States. This was a fitting token as their first meeting provided a fresh start between the United States government and the Catholic church after years of strained relations.

Pope Francis gave President Obama two medallions that symbolize the need for peace and solidarity between the two hemispheres. Pope Francis also gave President Obama a copy of "Evangelii Gaudium," or "The Joy of the Gospel." The book was written by Pope Francis that calls for a new era of evangelization and a renewed focus on the poor.

When the two men met, they greeted each other with a smile and a handshake and posed for pictures before sitting down across a table from each other. They spoke privately for 52 minutes.

The leaders have different views on contraception, abortion rights and gay marriage, but they do have common thoughts about poverty and social justice.

President Obama said even though he and Pope Francis don't agree on everything, he admires Pope Francis' courage to speak out on economic and social issues.

He added:

"I was grateful to have the opportunity to speak with him about the responsibilities that we all share to care for the least of these, the poor, the excluded. And I was extremely moved by his insights about the importance of us all having a moral perspective on world problems and not simply thinking in terms of our own narrow self-interests."


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