10 stories of kids having special encounters with the pope.
1. Early in his Pontiffhood, Pope Francis was giving a speech on stage during Family Day at the Vatican. A little boy in a yellow shirt watched from the front of the crowd as the pope spoke.
Then, suddenly, the unknown boy jumped up onto the stage and walked over and hugged the pope around the legs.
Aides for the pope tried to remove that little guy, but he was going nowhere, and he stood next to the pontiff continued to speak.
He even walked back and spent a minute sitting in the pope’s chair, much to the delight of the crowd.
2. In January of 2015, 12-year-old Glyzelle Palomar approached the pope and asked him: “Why is God allowing such things as children suffering to happen, even if it is not the fault of the children? And why are there only very few people helping us?”
The Holy Father touched her tears as she asked him, and he explained to her it is only when we learn to cry with those who are suffering that we can begin to understand them and to love them,
Said the pope: “If you don’t learn how to cry, you can’t be good Christians.”
3. Last February, Pope Francis visited a children’s hospital in Mexico City. He was stunned when a 15-year-old cancer patient, Alexia Garduno, sang to him the beautiful song, “Ave Maria.”
The pope was so overwhelmed by the young girl’s amazing rendition of it, that he was brought to tears. And after meeting with the pope, Alexia said that her chances of surviving now are 100 percent.
4. Kids are just… well, sneaky. Take 3-year-old Estella Westrick. She was among thousands who were waiting to see the pope at the Vatican.
When the pope walked up to her, one of the pope’s aides held the little girl up to him to kiss him on the cheek, as her godfather took a video of it. But right after the kiss, sneaky little Estella snatched the pontiff’s skullcap, bring lots of laughter from the crowd. But the pope quickly took it back and laughed about it himself.
5. At St. Peter’s Square in 2014, the pope was making his weekly touring of those who had gathered in the square when he came upon a young child whose head was bandaged and his family was poor.
The pontiff was clearly moved by the little boy before kissing him and putting a blessing upon him. Many in the papal audience found the pope’s gesture extremely emotional.
6. In September of 2015, as Pope Francis was being driven in the papal parade in Washington, D.C., 5-year-old Sophie Cruz waded through the thousands of people and scrambled past security guards and barricades to deliver a letter herself to the pope.
The letter pleaded with the pope to help her parents, who were illegal immigrants, and to help the millions of other immigrants in the country who were undocumented.
Sophie was one of 19 adults and six children who traveled to Washington to deliver the message on immigration.
7. When Dana Madden took her infant daughter Quinn to see the pope in Philadelphia, she had no idea that she or her little girl would be noticed.
But Ohhhhh…. were they noticed, particularly little Quinn, and that might have had something to do with the way she was dressed…. which was… as the pope, complete with a tall, formal pope hat.
As the pope was moving in his pope mobile, he spotted the little girl dressed as him and burst into laughter. He then had one of his aides bring the girl to him, blessed her and kissed her on the cheek.
8. 10-year-old Jersey Vargas had an important message to deliver to the pope when she visited the Vatican. But as she was pushing through the crowd to get close to the pope, others in the crowd were pushing her back.
One woman pushed her out of the way really hard, and it hurt, causing her to cry. But a Good Samaritan who witnessed the woman gouging Jersey brought her up into the front row. And the pope walked over to her and she was able to give him her message, saying: “Please help my family because we are suffering and my dad is suffering deportation and it’s not fair. Other children are suffering because their parents are getting separated.”
He then blessed her and touched her head.
Jersey’s father, who was being held in an ice detention center in Louisiana, was released to rejoin his family soon after jersey’s encounter with the Pope.
9. While in Philadelphia, Pope Francis stopped his motorcade to bless a young boy afflicted with cerebral palsy. Michael Keating, clutching Rosary beads, received the blessing from the pontiff, surprising his mother, father, sister and brother, who were all there with him hoping to just get a glimpse of the Holy Father.
Michael’s mother cried and thanked the pope as he put his hands on her son. Said Michael’s mother: “For us, it was beautiful. For us, it meant something.”
10. Just a few months after Francis became pope, he was traveling in his motorcade through Rio de Janeiro, when suddenly, a young boy burst through all the barriers and ran up to the pope.
That young boy was Nathan de Brito, and he whispered into the pope’s ear: “Your Holiness, I want to be a priest of Christ, a representative of Christ.”
The pope hugged him and started to cry. Then, he told boy, “I am going to pray for you, but I ask you to pray for me.”
Young Nathan then continued to walk alongside the pope as he moved down the street, waving and smiling.
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