From: Memoli, Michael [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 11:28 AM
To: Velz, Peter T. EOP ; Barnes, Desiree N. EOP
Subject: WH Pool 9/23 #2b: Gift exchange, POTUS to Pope Francis
Per a White House official:
President Barack Obama presented His Holiness Pope Francis with a sculpture of an ascending dove, an international symbol of peace as well as the Christian symbol for the Holy Spirit. This one-of-a-kind metal sculpture incorporates an original armature bar from the Statue of Liberty, preserved during Lady Liberty’s centennial restoration. Completed in 1886, the Statue of Liberty is one of the United States’ greatest national treasures and is considered an international beacon of hope and freedom. The sculpture’s pedestal was made with historic wood reclaimed from the White House lawn and features a personalized inscription for the occasion. This custom gift honors His Holiness’ tireless advocacy for the world’s most vulnerable.
In addition to the sculpture, President Obama presented His Holiness with a key from the Maryland home of Elizabeth Ann Seton. Dedicated to serving those most in need, Mother Seton was the first native-born American to be declared a saint, and this year marks the 40th anniversary of her canonization. Dating from 1809, the key was presented on a piece of marble from the Basilica at the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Keys are highly symbolic in the Catholic tradition and appear on His Holiness’ coat of arms as well as on the coat of arms and flag of the Holy See and Vatican City. This gift honors His Holiness Pope Francis’ designation of 2015 as the Year of Consecrated Life and celebrates both His Holiness’ and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s dedication to opening doors for the poor, sick, and vulnerable.