RI Couple Moved To Tears After Pope Hugs, Kisses 8-Year-Old Disabled Son

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Pope Francis kisses a disabled child from the papamobile during the Easter celebrations on St Peter's square on March 31, 2013 at the Vatican. (credit: VINCENZO PINTO,VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis kisses a disabled child from the papamobile during the Easter celebrations on St Peter’s square on March 31, 2013 at the Vatican. (credit: VINCENZO PINTO,VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

JOHNSTON, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island couple says they were speechless and moved to tears when Pope Francis hugged and kissed their 8-year-old son in St. Peter’s Square on Easter Sunday.

Paul and Christina Gondreau of Johnston and their five children attended Easter Mass at the Vatican. The pope cradled their son, Dominic, who has cerebral palsy.

Videos and photos of the pontiff standing in the “popemobile” and holding Dominic were transmitted worldwide. Pope Francis also hugged and kissed other children as he greeted the crowd after Mass.

Paul Gondreau is a theology professor at Providence College and is teaching this semester in Rome.

A story on the Providence College website says Paul Gondreau called the moment “an incredibly moving encounter.” He says his son teaches him daily lessons about how to love.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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