His Holiness Pope Francis has blessed a picture of a sick child which was given to him by a Derry woman who travelled to Rome this month.
The woman was travelling on pilgrimage with Sean Mulrine who runs the Padre Pio office for Northern Ireland.
More than 120 pilgrims travelled with Sean to Rome last week to gather with Padre Pio Prayer groups from around the world in response to the invitations issued by Pope Francis to celebrate the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in the presence of the relics of St Pio of Pietralcina and St Leopold Mandric, which had been brought to Rome at the Pope’s request for the occasion.
The Derry group attended Mass in the Church of Salvatore al Lauro where the relics of both saints reposed prior to being carried in procession to St Peter’s Basilica. However the highlight was the special Papal Audience given for the prayer groups in St. Peter’s Square. The Derry group said they were delighted to be given tickets that allowed them such a good vantage point.
During the procession to St Peter’s the group were close enough for some to touch the reliquaries with personal religious objects and have them blessed by one of the accompanying cardinals.
Sean Mulrine was able to shake the Pope’s hand while one of the ladies in the group held up a picture of a very ill child gesturing her request for a blessing. The Pope actually took the photo and to consternation passed on still holding it in his hand.
A short time later a Vatican aide came to her and gave back the photo saying the fluent English “His Holiness has blessed the child and will pray for it.”
Sean Mulrine has two further trips organised this year. On May 12 there will be an eleven day trip to San Giovanni and Medjugorje with a seaside break in Dubrovnik. On October 12 there will four night trip to San Giovanni with a visit to the shine of St Michael the Archangel and St Matthew’s monastery.
Sean Mulrine has a number of pairs of rosary beads when have been specially commissioned for the Year of Mercy.
To get a pair or to book a place on the trip contact the Padre Pio Centre at 101 Templegrove or ring 71265926