President Bush and his wife Laura will lead the American delegation to the funeral of Pope John Paul II. He will be the first U.S. president to attend a papal funeral.

President Bush says he looks forward to the trip to Vatican City and the opportunity to celebrate the life of Pope John Paul the Second. "And it is my great honor on behalf of my country to express gratitude to the Almighty for such a man," he said.

Mr. Bush acknowledges they disagreed on some matters - most notably the war in Iraq, but he downplays their differences. "He was a man of peace and he did not like war, and I fully understood that. And I appreciated the conversations I had with the Holy Father on the subject," he said.

Speaking to reporters following talks with the new Ukrainian president, Mr. Bush recalled his first meeting with the pope. He said the pontiff explained his views of the world as they walked along a balcony at his summer residence near Rome. President Bush said it was a moment he will never forget.