December 7, 2016
The following comes from the Catholic News Agency:
Pope Francis has again captured the hearts of the world, with a tear-jerking letter to a young Italian girl dying from cancer, which was read aloud at the girl’s funeral once she passed away.
“Dear Paolina, your photos are on my desk, because in your very special gaze I see the light of goodness and innocence. Thank you for sending them to me!” the Pope said at the beginning of his letter.
He instructed the girl to “read this letter together with your mother, and the kiss she will give you will be the kiss of the Pope.”
The letter was dated September 22 and addressed to 10-year-old Paolina Libraro, who was suffering from an advanced form of cancer.
She passed away Nov. 22 and was buried the same day. The funeral Mass was held at the Church of St. Leopold Mandic and was presided over by Fr. Michele Quaranta.
During his homily, Fr. Quaranta read aloud the Pope’s letter, which reassured Paolina that “I unite my hands to yours and to those who are praying for you.”
“In this way we will make a long chain that, I am sure, will reach heaven,” Pope Francis said in the letter, and told the girl to remember “that the first link in this chain is you, because you have Jesus in your heart! Remember it!”
He told her to speak to Jesus not only about herself, but also about her parents, “who need so much to be helped and comforted in front of the difficult steps they are facing.”
“You will certainly be very good at suggesting to Jesus what to do for them,” the Pope said, and asked Paolina to also tell Jesus “what he must do for me too, while I will remind him what he must do for you.”
“I give you a very strong hug and I bless you with my whole heart, together with your parents and your loved ones,” he said, and signed the letter himself.