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Going to a weekly General Audience with 40 children is quite challenging. But for the teachers of this Italian school, it was worth it.

"We are here to celebrate the 400 anniversary of the birth of Pope Innocent XII, who was born in our hometown, Spinazzola.”

This group of kids and teachers made a five hour trip from Spinazzola, a village in southeast Italy, to St. Peter's Basilica.

All to give Pope Francis a very special gift: a book they worked on for weeks about Pope Innocent XII, who ruled the Church from 1691 to 1700.

"A teacher handed the book to Pope Francis, postcards and all. The kids could see a little bit from afar, but it was all the same exciting.”

Still, distance varies with age. What for an adult may seem "far” is much closer for these girls who want to make clear they saw Pope Francis.

"He was just an inch away.”

"Yes, just like Roxanna said, he was only an inch away.”

These 40 kids returned home happy after seeing Pope Francis. Perhaps history will choose again their village and one of them becomes Pope just like their beloved Innocent XII.


AFP/PM
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UP: YJA