Gianna Masciantonio was kissed by Pope Francis in Philadelphia
During Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia last year, the jovial pontiff stopped the motorcade to greet and kiss many babies during his trip around the city. Little did he know that a one-year old baby he kissed, Gianna Masciantonio, had a rare inoperable brain tumor and ever since his simple kiss on the head, the infant has been on a speedy path to recovery.
Six weeks after the famous kiss, an MRI revealed the tumor had shrunk and according to Gianna’s father, the “[tumor] was basically just a blush on the screen. It was virtually invisible.” This amazing turn of events meant that Gianna would survive, though she would still need to continue chemotherapy.
As of today, according to CBS Eyewitness News, “She’s starting to talk, walk and she’s full of energy.” Doctors have said that her future looks bright and hopeful.
Some have called it the “Miracle on Market Street,” but Gianna’s father, Joey Masciantonio, believes that it was not the kiss that has helped her. Masciantonio told NBC News, “The kiss was God’s work, that’s for sure. But, the miracle was Him giving us the platform to reach those doctors who, ultimately, played a major role in saving Gianna’s life.”
While Pope Francis was unaware of Gianna’s condition at the time of the kiss, he now asks about her and is interested in her progress. This past week, he sent the Masciantonio family a framed photograph of the kiss with his simple autograph at the bottom.
Gianna’s mother, Kristen Masciantonio, was surprised to receive the gift and was thankful for his prayers. She said, “To know that he knows about her and that he’s asking about her and that he’s praying for her and continuing to pray for her — it’s amazing.”
In response to the miraculous event, the family started the For the Love of Grace Foundation, which has as its mission “Spreading love, faith and hope to children and families facing rare and life-threating disease.” The family wants to help others in similar situations and give them hope for the future.