By Reenat Sinay Globe Correspondent
A Hingham couple on a religious pilgrimage to the Vatican was lucky
enough not only to spot Pope Francis, but to watch his face light up as
he received a gift from their daughter.
“I cried, I absolutely
cried, I honestly could not believe it,” said Maura Naughton. “I never
in a million years thought that I could actually get something to him.”
Naughton and her husband Laurence arrived in Rome Tuesday with a
group of more than 30 others from the Boston area. They attended a
general audience with the pope on Wednesday.
“As soon as we told
our children that we were going to Rome for an audience with the pope,
our 9-year-old, Megan, said ‘I’m going to make the pope some presents,’”
Megan, who goes to St. Paul Parish in Hingham, chose to go the practical route and made Francis a potholder.
“It came from place of such innocence and sweetness and hope,” said
Naughton. “She thought we’d walk right up to the pope and give it to
However, the pontiff’s weekly general audiences regularly draw crowds in the thousands and last just two hours.
“I was in a line 5 feet deep behind another line of people who get to shake hands with him,” Naughton said.
luck would have it, the Naughtons were standing next to an Italian
couple who was able to pass the gift to a priest in the line ahead of
“He looked at us like we were crazy and took the potholder,”
she said. “He gave it to the pope and pointed back at me, and the pope
held it up and smiled and waved.”
Naughton said that by this time
“he had been given so many gold chalices” and other gifts, that “for
him to take the time to hold up this gift made by a child was so
He “looked joyful and happy and very genuine,” she
added. “It was a moment in time that you can’t recreate, something none
of us will ever forget.”
The Naughtons broke the news to Megan Wednesday and said she was “very excited.”
Wednesday also happened to be Naughton’s 46th birthday, and she says she could not have asked for a better gift.
“It was divine intervention that I was next to these people,” she said. “It was quite a birthday present.”
Reenat Sinay can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.