Well, it happened again. While last time was a cute, fun moment with the Holy Father, this one brought people to tears.
If you haven’t already seen the story, which is all over the media, Peter got to ride in the Pope-Mobile with the Holy Father yesterday.
Peter has Down Syndrome. A few years ago, he was also diagnosed with Leukemia. During his treatment, the Make-A-Wish people stopped by and asked for his wish. He wanted a kiss from the pope! They couldn’t grant that wish, but his back up wish was pretty awesome too, and they can do that – a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader.
Months ago his mom, Brenda Lombardi, contacted me to help organize their family visit to Italy. She used my site to book and plan everything for their trip, and also booked me to show her family the churches of Rome on a few day pilgrimages.
On Tuesday I met them for the first time and she told me Peter’s story. When she got to the part about him wanting a kiss from the pope, I immediately contacted a good friend who lives at the Vatican, Joanne, a true Travel Angel. The next day we skipped security and went through the Swiss Guard Barracks and right into Saint Peter’s Square into the front row.
While this guarantees a great view, it doesn’t guarantee a kiss. But the family could not have been more grateful. When the Holy Father started his ride around the piazza, he immediately saw Peter and stopped right in front us, had security pick him up, gave him a kiss, and then asked if Peter would like to stay in the car.
It was so beautiful. For 15 minutes the successor to Peter and “Perfect” Peter, as his family calls him, rode around Saint Peter’s Square waving, smiling, and stopping to kiss babies.
As you can imagine, the story touched many people, so the mom and I spent the day with the media telling Peter’s story.
In the media…
CNN Christina Zdanowicz really did an amazing job with this piece.
Catholic News Service My friend Junno was first on the scene and had this story and video posted before we got home.
NBC 4 Great video interview from Rome.