Pope Francis today asked the thousands in St. Peter’s Square for the Wednesday audience to say a prayer for a little girl named Noemi.
L’Osservatore Romano reported that as the faithful prayed for her, the child was already returning to her home in the province of Chieti.
“It is there that for the last sixteen months, that is since she was born, that she has been waiting for the genetic disease of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA ) to complete its course.
“Beside her, only the love of her father Andrea and her mother Tahereh. And since Oct. 14 of this year, when Andrea Sciarretta’s phone rang, Pope Francis’ love has also been at the foot of her little [bed] of pain. And he has never left her alone. He asked his almoner, Archbishop Krajewski, to follow the family closely. Since then there has been frequent contact, most recently when Archbishop Krajewski went to visit them in Abruzzo on the Solemnity of All Saints. The Pope wanted him personally to bring the family his best wishes and to pray with them as though he himself were there.
“Then yesterday morning, a distressing phone call came in to the almoner’s mobile: ‘Father, it’s Andrea. There’s no more time. Noemi is dying …’ ‘Come, come now,’ Archbishop Krajewski replied. ‘The Pope will certainly receive you.’ Time enough to get organized and then, this morning, they journeyed to Rome. At 9 am, Pope Francis was holding Noemi to himself. He caressed her tenderly, he kissed her, deeply moved, he blessed her with the same joy that illumined Noemi’s little face. Of course she did not fully realize what was happening, and especially why it was happening to her, but in her eyes could be seen that light which, as her father wrote in a letter sent to the Pope in early October, communicates ‘courage and the will to live’ to all those who look upon her.”