G20 Summit: President Biden attends private holy communion service in Delhi

Father Nicholas Dias, secretary for the liturgy commission for the Delhi Archdiocese, conducts a special Holy Communion service for President Biden before the G20 Summit

US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden

BS Web Team New Delhi

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Father Nicholas Dias, secretary for the liturgy commission for the Delhi Archdiocese, organised a holy communion service for United States President Joe Biden. This service took place at the Maurya Sheraton Hotel in New Delhi, where President Biden was staying ahead of the G20 Summit.
The request for this private service came directly from the US Embassy, aiming to provide President Biden with spiritual support before the Summit's commencement on a Saturday morning, according to a report by News Nine.
Fr Dias, a seasoned priest with over three decades of service in various apostolates, promptly responded to the invitation. The White House engaged with him to ensure the President's request for a prayer service could be fulfilled.
On the first day of the G20 Summit, on Saturday morning, at around 9 AM, Fr Dias, accompanied by a small US delegation and President Biden's personal doctor, gathered at the ITC Maurya hotel. The 30-minute holy communion service was brief yet significant, allowing President Biden to commence his G20 engagements with spiritual reflection and prayer, added the report.
President Biden and Fr Dias engaged in a personal conversation during the service. President Biden shared insights into his Catholic upbringing, particularly influenced by his grandmother. Fr Dias took the opportunity to highlight the presence of St Francis Xavier's immortal remains in Goa.
Following the communion service, Fr Dias gifted President Biden a packet of Bebinca, a Goan-Portuguese delicacy as a gesture of cultural exchange. In return, President Biden presented Fr Dias with the President's Seal marked with the number 261.
Speaking with the Indian Express, Fr Dias shared, "President Biden was clear that he wanted to begin his two-day G20 engagements at Bharat Mandapam with the Holy Eucharist and a prayer. Together, we prayed for the participants as well as for the success of the Summit and for the global issues that were to be discussed."
Speaking on the gift Fr Dias presented to the US President, he said that he had just returned from Goa and had packed the delicacy and thought it would be an "apt gift to speak of my cultural roots."

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For the religious leader, this was an opportunity to "celebrate faith with a world leader".

First Published: Sep 10 2023 | 12:30 PM IST

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