Rio, July 28, 2013: Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press
Office, told Vatican Radio that Pope Francis has personally requested the presence
of a sick child when he presides Sunday’s closing mass for World Youth Day celebrations
in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The little girl, who suffers from anencephaly, a condition which means she was born without a large part of her brain, will be brought up to the altar during the Offertory procession. Most children affected by anencephaly do not survive this condition or are aborted before the pregnancy comes to term.
The little girl’s parents presented her to Pope Francis as he was leaving Rio’s Saint Sebastian Cathedral following Saturday’s mass with religious. The couple said that though they could have legally aborted their sick child, they decided to celebrate her life.
Fr. Lombardi said, “the Pope will welcome this very tiny girl during the Offertory procession of the final Mass for World Youth Day as a sign of welcome and of offering of life to God.”