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Pope Francis talked candidly with parishioners of a Roman church after confirmation, talking about the sacraments, his experiences and drawing others to Jesus Christ.
BY CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY
VATICAN CITY — During a recent visit to a parish on the outskirts of Rome, Pope Francis revealed that if he had the power to perform one miracle, it would be to heal suffering children.
The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported the Pope was visiting St. Cyril parish to celebrate the sacrament of confirmation, and, afterwards, he spent several hours visiting with the people there. One of the teenagers who was being confirmed asked him what miracle he would perform if he could.
’The Holy Father’s answer was: “To heal children, because it pains me to see children suffer.”
The Holy Father greeted the sick people at the parish one by one, embracing them with a smile and sharing words of comfort. Some wept for joy at seeing him.
Pope Francis also spoke with the people present. He asked the children receiving first Communion, “Are you good? Do you know how to pray? Thank you for being here to spend this time together and get to know each other better.”
To the parents of children baptized during the year, the Pope said, “When they are baptized, we bring home not only our child, but also a seed of divinity that we must help to grow.”
Patience towards children is important, he added, “and talking with them and teaching them is wonderful.” Even more wonderful, Pope Francis said, is the awareness that, with baptism, “a Divine sign comes into the home.”
He also told them that he had never imagined becoming Pope, and he was “a little bit” anxious celebrating his first Mass after being elected, because “to face so many people is a little scary.”
“But the people were nice,” the Holy Father said, adding that “the Lord has helped me to be a priest, and then a bishop, and now Pope.”
Questioned about his daily schedule, the Holy Father said, “I pray, then I celebrate Mass, and then I begin to work,” reading letters and documents and having meetings with cardinals, bishops, priests and laypeople. He added that he takes lunch at noon, followed by half an hour of rest. Then he begins working again until night.
The Pope also revealed that he worked as a bouncer at a night club when he was younger. He also taught literature and psychology and learned from his experience how to help fallen-away Catholics return to the Church.
“We don’t have to go door to door proselytizing,” he said, “because the Church spreads through attraction,” quoting Benedict XVI.
The Pope’s final gesture was to bless an unborn child and to bid farewell to the people, encouraging them to use the period of Advent to prepare well for Christmas in order to “encounter Jesus once again.”