Fw: Travel pool report #6: Visit to Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral and meeting with U.S. Embassy staff

Original Message
From: Eilperin, Juliet
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 2:50 PM
To: Velz, Peter T. EOP/WHO
Subject: Travel pool report #6: Visit to Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral and meeting with U.S. Embassy staff

‎At 2:06 pm POTUS entered the cathedral, and was joined by Cardinal Mario Aurielio Poli as well as Nuncio Emil Paul Tscherrig and a couple of archbishops as well as Argentina's Foreign Minister, Susanna Malcorra. The cathedral is the one Pope Francis celebrated Mass before his elevation in 2013, and is a gorgeous, elegant edifice.

Note: the pool was some distance away from the president the entire time, and could not make out any of his discussions or comments.

The cardinal delivered a prayer in Spanish (text below, in both Spanish and English), as the others all stood at attention before a massive gold altar.

Then the president and foreign minister walked over to a different section of the church, where they participated in a wreath laying ceremony (details below). Two military officers laid a wreath at the base of San Martin's tomb, which had white flowers and ribbons on it. A bugler played taps as Obama and Malcorra stood, the notes echoing throughout the high, vaulted ceilings of the ceiling.

After that, the entire group walked over to a section of the cathedral that includes a memorial to victims of the Holocaust. (Argentina has had a sizable Jewish population for many years.) The president listened as a guide explained some of the background, including letters, displayed on the walls about different victims. According to a U.S. official, the memorial is the only one to the Holocaust inside a basilica, but the pool did not have time to independently verify this.

Around 2:15 pm local, Obama left the cathedral and the motorcade drove for a few minutes to the Sheraton, where he is meeting with U.S. Embassy staff. The pool is holding in a van and at 2:46 pm, we are getting ready to leave for the town the president will be conducting with Argentine youth.

Prayer in Spanish and English:

Original Spanish Version)

Dios, creador del mundo,

Bajo tu providencia transcurre la historia de los hombres;

Escucha con bondad nuestras súplicas

Y concede la paz a nuestro tiempo,

Para que nos gocemos incesantemente

En la alabanza de tu misericordia.

Por Nuestro Señor Jesucristo, tu Hijo,

Que vive y reina contigo en la unidad del Espíritu Santo,

Y es Dios, por los siglos y de los siglos.

(Translated English Version)

Lord, creator of the world,

Under your providence the history of mankind unfolds;

Kindly listen to our prayers

And grant peace to our time,

So we may endlessly rejoice

Praising your mercy.

Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

One God, forever and ever.

BACKGROUND: President Obama will participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral. To commemorate special occasions or visits by dignitaries, it is customary to lay a wreath at the base of San Martín’s tomb, as did former President Theodore Roosevelt during a 1913 visit to the cathedral.
Buenos Aires’ Metropolitan Cathedral is best known as the church where Pope Francis, then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, celebrated Mass before his elevation in 2013.  Pope Francis was ordained a priest in 1969, and appointed archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998. Locally known as “Bishop of the slums,” Pope Francis devoted his time and church resources to helping the poor and advocating for social equality in Argentina.
The Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral, overlooking the Plaza de Mayo and the Casa Rosada presidential palace, was built in the early 1700s.  It has a Greek Revival façade and inside, a carved baroque altar.  Among the shrines lining the cathedral is a memorial to the Holocaust and the victims of the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy and the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center, both in Buenos Aires. That memorial is located in the Virgen de Luján chapel, across the nave from the San Martín tomb, and displays historical objects including pages of prayer books saved from Treblinka and Auschwitz.
The cathedral, the seat of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, also includes the marble mausoleum of General José de San Martín, an Argentine independence hero who led Argentina’s 19th century war of independence against Spain.  Three statues guard San Martín’s black sarcophagus, representing the territories of Argentina, Chile, and Peru that he liberated from colonial rule.  San Martín retired to France, but his remains were returned to Buenos Aires and deposited at the cathedral in 1880.  Next to San Martín’s tomb stands a memorial to the unknown soldier of the independence war.

From: Velz, Peter T. EOP/WHO
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 12:24 PM
To: Jeff Mason; Margaret Talev; Josh Lederman; Alana Anyse; Pablo Martinez; Nicholas Kamm; Pablo Martinez; Eilperin, Juliet; Page McCarty; Jeff Johnston; Stephen Crowley; Carlos Barria; 'Miriam Burgues'; Carol Lee; miriam burgués flórez
Cc: Bentley, Lauren G. EOP/WHO; Velz, Peter T. EOP/WHO
Subject: On background from WH official

Today at the conclusion of their joint press conference, President Obama and President Macri will answer a question submitted through Facebook after they take questions from journalists. The Argentine Presidency announced this online engagement earlier this week on its official Facebook page. The decision to include a question from social media reflects

BACKGROUND: President Obama will participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral. To commemorate special occasions or visits by dignitaries, it is customary to lay a wreath at the base of San Martín’s tomb, as did former President Theodore Roosevelt during a 1913 visit to the cathedral.
Buenos Aires’ Metropolitan Cathedral is best known as the church where Pope Francis, then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, celebrated Mass before his elevation in 2013.  Pope Francis was ordained a priest in 1969, and appointed archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998. Locally known as “Bishop of the slums,” Pope Francis devoted his time and church resources to helping the poor and advocating for social equality in Argentina.
The Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral, overlooking the Plaza de Mayo and the Casa Rosada presidential palace, was built in the early 1700s.  It has a Greek Revival façade and inside, a carved baroque altar.  Among the shrines lining the cathedral is a memorial to the Holocaust and the victims of the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy and the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center, both in Buenos Aires. That memorial is located in the Virgen de Luján chapel, across the nave from the San Martín tomb, and displays historical objects including pages of prayer books saved from Treblinka and Auschwitz.
The cathedral, the seat of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, also includes the marble mausoleum of General José de San Martín, an Argentine independence hero who led Argentina’s 19th century war of independence against Spain.  Three statues guard San Martín’s black sarcophagus, representing the territories of Argentina, Chile, and Peru that he liberated from colonial rule.  San Martín retired to France, but his remains were returned to Buenos Aires and deposited at the cathedral in 1880.  Next to San Martín’s tomb stands a memorial to the unknown soldier of the independence war.

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