Pope Francis has urged U.S. President Donald Trump to remember "the poor, the outcast and those in need" during his time in office while extending his "cordial good wishes" to the new American leader.
He assured Trump of his prayers moving forward, saying he'd be praying that God would give him wisdom and strength in his role as President.
Trump's first weekend as president was greeted with concern outside the United States where Trump's inaugural speech strongly emphasized "America First," but offered scant signs of conciliation to U.S. friends and neighbors.
An imam who delivered a prayer from Trump spoke of diversity in what was seen as a counter to the president's anti-Islamic rhetoric during his electoral campaign,
In a Jan. 21 statement, Francis said: "At a time when our human family is beset by grave humanitarian crises demanding far-sighted and united political responses, I pray that your decisions will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people and your nation's commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide.
"Under your leadership, may America's stature continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door."
The Pope said that , "with these sentiments, I ask the Lord to grant you and your family, and all the beloved American people, his blessings of peace, concord and every material and spiritual prosperity."
Separately, in an interview published Jan. 21, Francis said he will wait to see what Trump does before making any judgments, emphasizing God's own patience with him and his faults, Catholic News Agency reports.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais Jan. 20, the same day as the U.S. presidential inauguration, the Pope said he doesn't like to get ahead of himself "or judge people prematurely."
"We will see how he acts, what he does, and then I will have an opinion. But being afraid or rejoicing beforehand because of something that might happen is, in my view, quite unwise. It would be like prophets predicting calamities or windfalls that will not be either," he said.
"We will see. We will see what he does and will judge." The world is so upside down, that it needs a fixed point, grounded firmly in reality: "what did you do, what did you decide, how do you move. That is what I prefer to wait and see."
The remarks came after Pope Francis publicly questioned the Chrisitian credentials of a person proposing to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border as Trump did during his presidential campaign.
The Pope said in 2016: "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian."
Trump posted a critical reply on Facebook.
"For a religious leader to question a person's faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian and as President I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now, with our current President.
"No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man's religion or faith.
"They are using the Pope as a pawn and they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so, especially when so many lives are involved and when illegal immigration is so rampant."
In one of his first events as U.S. President, Trump attended a prayer service at Washington Cathedral the day after his inauguration Jan. 20.
IMAM ADRESSES PRAYER MEETING FOR TRUMP
At the service an imam who had been expected to deliver the Islamic call to prayer instead recited two verses from the Quran that contained clear political messages for the new president and his administration, CNN reported.
Imam Mohamed Magid, executive director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, a well-known figure in Washington, had been sharply criticized by fellow Muslims for agreeing to take part in the Saturday event at Washington National Cathedral.
He was one of 26 religious leaders from diverse faiths to participate in the service, an inaugural tradition since George Washington.
The event's program said Magid would recite the "Muslim call to prayer," leading many to believe he would intone the adhan, the melodic call to worship that issues forth from many mosques five times a day.
Addressing the capitol's power brokers, including Trump's family and Vice President Michael Pence, Magid read first in Arabic and then provided an English translation.
The first verse he read was from Surah Al-Hujarat, in which God says:
"O humankind, We have created you a single male and female (Adam and Eve) and made you into nations and tribes and communities, that you may know one another. Really, the most honored of you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you, and God has all knowledge..."
The second verse he read was from Surah Ar-Rum:
"And among the signs of God is the creation of heaven and earth, and the variation in your languages and your colors. Verily, in that are signs for those who know."