Fiji President Presents Pope Francis With Drum Carved From Tree Felled In Cyclone

Konrote invites pontiff to visit Fiji

By Alisi Vucago

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 27, 2017) – A Lali [Fijian drum]  carved from a mahogany tree that was felled during Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston was presented to Pope Francis by Fijian President Jioji Konrote when the pair met last week.

The mahogany tree the lali was carved from once stood outside Fiji's State House and the gift was a symbol to summon the world to take action on climate change.

Mr Konrote met the Pope at the Vatican City in Rome on March 24 to discuss Fiji's upcoming global responsibilities on oceans and the challenges the region is faced with while battling climate change.

Pope Francis said he would consider visiting Fiji in the near future, after being invited by President Jioji Konrote.

"I also took the time to invite His Holiness to visit Fiji in the near future, to which Pope Francis was thankful and said he would consider," Mr Konrote said.

The pair talked on the issue of climate change and Fiji's Presidency at COP23 and Mr Konrote also requested for the Pope's support with Fiji's leadership responsibilities and in advocating and championing the cause and challenges posed by climate change.

The Pope said ethical dimensions of climate change demanded solidarity with the most vulnerable social groups and countries, and with the new generations.

The Pope also presented Mr Konrote with a porcelain plate with paintings impressing humanities' obligation to care for creation, a Jubilee Medal of Pope Francis' fourth anniversary to the Papacy, as well as copies of many of his writings including the Laudato Si — an encyclical on earth-keeping and the responsibility to care for the whole of creation.

"Pope Francis possessed a very good sense of humour and we had very positive discussions on the important international responsibilities Fiji was assuming," said Mr Konrote.

Fiji Times Online.
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