On November 23, in the small Italian village of Massafra, a funeral Mass was offered for a young Italian girl, 10-year-old Paolina, who had died from a serious illness.
The Requiem Mass took place in the church of Saint Leopold Mandic,, with many parishioners present, including the local mayor.
During the homily at the Mass, the pastor, Father Michele Quaranta read a letter sent to Paolina by Pope Francis. Paolina’s mother had written to the Holy Father to ask his blessing and his prayers for her daughter. Pope Francis had hoped to welcome to the young girl to the Vatican to meet her in person, but Paolina was already too sick to make the trip.
The full text of the Pope’s letter to Paolina can be read here:
Your photos are on my desk, because in your truly special gaze I see the light of goodness and of innocence. Thanks for sending them to me! Read this letter together with your and the kiss that I will give you now will be the kiss of the Pope. I join my hands to yours and to those of all those who are praying for you. And so we will make a long chain that, I’m sure, will reach to heaven. But remember that the first link in this chain is you, because you have Jesus in your heart! Remember that! So speak to Him, tell Him about yourself, but also talk about your mom and dad who have so much need of help and comfort in the face of the very difficult steps they are facing. You will certainly be a very good girl by suggesting to Jesus what to do for them! Remember, too, to tell Him what He should do for me, too, while I remember the things He ought to do for you. I give you a very, very big hug, and I bless you, together with your parents and your loved ones, with all my heart.