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“Mom, I'm going for a ride with the Pope”

2015-11-12

They had only planned to make a quick stop by the Vatican during their vacation in Rome...and nothing more. But this family got more than they bargained for when Pope Francis invited their children to ride on the Popemobile with him.

PABLO SAENZ DE OLAZAGOITIA ODÉRIZ
"Well, we were at a corner near the Pope. We looked directly at him and we yelled, 'Father Jorge.' And he was looking one way but turned around. When he gave a kiss to our youngest sister, he looked at us two, and he gave us his hand and said, 'Come on up.'”

And that's how these children from Spain ended up on the ride of their lives. It was completely unexpected for them, though it's not surprising Pope Francis would do it. He always leaves people smiling after the general audience.

PILAR ODÉRIZ
"They were so excited for the rest of the day. We were so excited. I was crying like a crazy person. I couldn't control my emotion. While they were getting off, the Pope looked as they were leaving, he kept watching us. We couldn't speak. Javier and I were saying all day: thank you, thank you. We didn't say anything other than thank you.”

The two kids remember their ten minutes on the Popemobile very well.

PABLO SAENZ DE OLAZAGOITIA ODÉRIZ
"Very comfortable. There are seats with cushions there.”

CARLOTA SAENZ DE OLAZAGOITIA ODÉRIZ
"We thought that he was only going to give us a kiss but then he told us to sit down.”

"And how did you feel?”

"I don't know, it was very moving.  The whole world was looking.”

Javier and Pilar have four children but weren't able to bring all of them. They had to leave their youngest in Spain, but they're already planning a return trip so that they can introduce the Pope to their other child. For now, they go back to home with a story they'll never forget.


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