Young girl asks Pope Francis how to pray and thank God in difficult moments of life

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The Pope's signature white Fiat 500 made a surprise visit to the Church of St. John Mary Vianney in the suburbs of Rome. Pope Francis greeted a group of 200 children with high fives.

This visit was the first of the Pope's “School of Prayer” initiative as part of the Year of Prayer leading up to the Jubilee. All of the children are part of catechism groups preparing for their First Communion.

Pope Francis began their meeting by joking with the children.

They told me: be careful, be careful, Pope Francis. Be careful because children make a commotion. Is this true about children making a racket?
Are they all with their hands like this and praying?
Just that?
Be careful. Don't tell lies.

The Pope then took about an hour answering a number of the children's questions. He gave a short catechesis on three phrases that deal with relationships with others: thank you, may I and excuse me.

Reflecting on thanking and praying to God, one young girl asked Pope Francis a difficult question.

How can I give thanks and pray to the Lord even though I am going through such a rough time in my life?
In times of difficulty, in times of illness, we also need to thank the Lord or not?
Yes. We thank the Lord because He gives us the patience to bear the difficulty. And this is a beautiful thing because if we don't have the patience, we can't go on with life, right?

Another child asked the Pope how he personally thanked God after being elected to the papacy. And he responded with a joke.

Who should thank the Lord: me or you?
But we have to learn this: she asked me if I thanked the Lord and how did I thank the Lord. Always in life, the Lord guides us. Have you understood this? The Lord always leads us forward in life, leads us this way, leads us that other way. We are to be obedient to the Lord when He leads us.

At the end of the meeting, the parish hall was filled with the sounds of the children singing.

These visits for the School of Prayer initiative connects the upcoming Jubilee of 2025 with Pope Francis' Jubilee of Mercy in 2016. That year the Pope also made surprise visits but to people living on the outskirts and those facing difficulties.


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