Marcelino had an accident at work and has now been unable to walk for three decades, though that didn't stop him from traveling to Rome to personally greet the pope.
“It's a dream come true. I'm speechless. It's something that... the emotion overcomes you. I was a mechanic and electrician, and a tube fell on my back. It hurt me, broke my clavicle, fractured my tibia and fibula... The truth is that it left me in a mess. It was a shock. I think God gave me strength and told me, 'You, Marcelino, were born to be like that, and you must go forward.”
Marcelino is the president of a federation dedicated to disabled people in Albacete, Spain. Other pilgrims made the trip with him, like Luis. The degenerative disease from which he suffers allowed him to walk until age 40, but he now needs this wheelchair. They still can't believe what their eyes have seen.
LUIS PRIETO PÉREZ
“We made it in the front row. I never imagined the pope was going to come to us, but he came and shook our hands. He gave us rosaries, and I was amazed. It was an indescribable emotion. Amazing.”
Among those present were also artists like José Ángel, who gave the pope this painting. They say the Holy Father's closeness moved them. They thought they were going to see him from afar instead of face-to-face in the square, a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will be hard to forget.