Kissing babies: A precious papal custom

Pope Francis
Pope Francis kisses a baby as he arrives to Independence Mall, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, before delivering a speech in front of Independence Hall, in Philadelphia. (Tony Gentile/Pool Photo via AP)

It’s the moment a faithful parent is waiting for: The popemobile slows, a security agent in a suit grabs an infant and hoists him or her up to the pope.

At many of his public events in the U.S., Pope Francis took the opportunity to kiss or touch babies in the crowd. The exchanges left parents in tears.

Nicole Campuzano, her husband and four children were at Independence Mall for Pope Francis’ speech when he touched the head of her 5-month-old son, Matthew.

“I sounded like someone in labor. I sounded like a crazy person,” Campuzano recalled. “So much joy came over me. It was very powerful.”

She added: “I was smelling his head afterward. Maybe he smells like the pope — I didn’t know what that would smell like.”

Matthew was born with a brain condition called congenital hydrocephalus. The pope’s tender touch, Campuzano said, “gives us hope for his future.”

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