It’s no secret that Lolo Kiko has a soft spot for kids. It is a fact that makes him all the more endearing to the world! And since November 20 marks World Children’s Day, we celebrate this special day by taking you to a trip back to three of the most memorable moments when the Holy Pontiff displayed his caring nature for little ones.
When he assured a little boy that his atheist father was in Heaven.
When a nervous Emanuele couldn’t find the courage to speak before a mic during the Q&A session at St. Paul of the Cross Parish just outside Rome, Pope Francis gently summoned him, and the two had a private powwow, heads touching, before the lad went back to his seat in tears.
With Emanuele’s permission, the Pope shared with the crowd what they had discussed. Apparently, the boy’s father had just passed away. Though an atheist, he had all four of his children baptized. And he was a good man. “Is my dad in heaven?” asked Emanuele.
“What a beautiful thing that a son says of his father, ‘He was good,’” said the Pope. “God is the one who decides who goes to Heaven. But how does God’s heart react to a Dad like that? Do you think that God would be capable of leaving him far from Him? Does God abandon his children when they are good?”
“No!” answered the crowd.
“There you go, Emanuele,” said Francis, “this is your answer. God surely was proud of your dad.”
When he allowed a hearing-impaired boy to wander up the Papal stage.
Six-year-old Wenzel Wirth made Pope Francis chuckle when he made his way up the marble steps of the Papal stage during a General Audience, checked out the cuff of a Swiss Guard on duty, and rolled on the carpet after freeing himself from his apologetic mom’s grasp. “Let him be, let him be,” Lolo Kiko told her with a smile, before remarking jokingly to Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Papal household, “He is Argentinian. Undisciplined.”
Later, the Pope would include Wenzel in his address. “When Jesus said we have to be like children, it means we need to have the freedom that a child has before his father. I think this child preaches to all of us. And let us ask for the grace of speech.”
When he gave a boy with Down syndrome and cancer a ride on the Popemobile.
Pete Lombardi just wanted a kiss from the Pope, but in the end, the 12-year-old boy got more than what he asked for. Hospitalized for leukemia treatment during the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, Pete happened to be on a trip to Rome and among the crowd at St. Peter’s Square when Lolo Kiko spotted him from his Popemobile and asked him to come on board. “He kissed me twice,” said Pete after the once-in-a-lifetime experience.