On Saturday morning, Father Nicolas Dias conducted a private Church service for US President Joe Biden ahead of his G20 deliberations in India. In the run-up to the G20 Summit, Father Nicholas, Secretary for Liturgy Commission for the Delhi Archdiocese, had got a call from the US Embassy in New Delhi, with a request that the US President Joe Biden wished to hold a private mass while in Delhi.
“I received an invite from the US embassy asking me whether I can celebrate the Holy Eucharist for the President. They sought an appointment with me, met me personally at the clergy home, and they told me that it is a short service of 20 minutes. They asked if they could avail of my services, which I gladly accepted,” the priest told ANI. “It was an occasion for me to be in faith and fellowship with the President of America who is a born Catholic and a devout Catholic” the priest said.
“He began to share with me how he cherishes his grandmother’s faith and that was the starting point of our discussion. I had prepared a minute-to-minute liturgy for this purpose so that we keep to the timing and that I shared with the other participants at the Holy Eucharist, including his personal doctor, and we participated well. I took the intention of praying for the success of G 20 summit, also praying for both the countries, India and America, and we prayed that all things may go well in both these countries. I involved the President in reciting the prayers. I involved the other delegates to reflect upon the Gospel of the day which talks about Jesus giving us lessons in crisis management. If there is a crisis, how should we deal with that at the micro level and therefore also at the macro level? Mass went on and Holy Communion was administered to President Biden and also the other attendants, including his personal assistants” the priest added. After the mass service was over, the priest gifted Biden with the Goan sweet Bebinca. Whereas, President Biden gifted the priest a seal of the President of the United States.
“When the communion service was over, I gifted him the Goan delicacy of Bebinca, which I had brought with me recently during my visit to my home state. And the President was grateful to me that I had given him time to celebrate the Eucharist. And he said wait, I will gift you something. And his personal assistant brought me this gift, that’s memorabilia given only to selected people, I reckon. And he handed it over to me, asked me to close my fist and mentioned this is the way it is given, Father. And that I saw it, both the sides and it had the number 261, which I know before me only 260 people had received such an honour,” the priest said. “It was a great moment for me that I have been chosen to pray with the President, pray for him, pray for our countries too, that all may go well and that the success may see the light of the day” he added.
Meanwhile, concluding his India visit, President Biden departed for Vietnam. During his visit, he is due to meet Vietnamese General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trọng and other key leaders to discuss ways to further deepen cooperation between the two nations.