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Pope gives youth with autism a few pointers on prayer


Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 09/22/20

Encourages them to say thank you, and then add a small petition. "Each one of you is beautiful in God’s eyes, and He loves you."

Pope Francis had a tender meeting with young attendees of Austria’s Sonnenschein Centre for Autism today in the Vatican. He greeted the youth and their parents, as well as those representing the school, with a short address (below).

In the Holy Father’s brief message, he talked to the children about how to pray. He encouraged them to say thank you to God for their lives, and for all creatures, and then to present a short petition, such as to help Mom or Dad with work.

He ended his talk giving a blessing in German.

© VATICAN MEDIA Via Catholic Press Photo

The pope has shown his affection for those with autism on other occasions. In 2018, a young boy with autism “joined” the pope on stage for his Wednesday audience. The Holy Father suggested that the child was a lesson as well — a lesson in freedom.


Read more:
Little boy joins pope for catechesis; Francis draws lesson from his freedom (VIDEO)

Here is a Vatican translation of the pope’s words from today’s meeting:

Dear children, dear parents,

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen!

I welcome you here in the Vatican. I am pleased to see your faces, and I can read in your eyes that you are happy to stay a while with me.

Your home is called “Sonnenschein,” that is, “sunshine.”

Children at Church

Read more:
A great visual tool that helps children with autism during Mass

I can imagine why those responsible chose this name. Because your home seems like a magnificent field in bloom in the sunshine, and you are the flowers of that House! God created the world with a great variety of flowers in every color. Each flower has its own beauty, which is unique. And each one of you is beautiful in God’s eyes, and He loves you.

This makes us feel the need for God: thank you! Thank you for the gift of life, for all creatures! Thank you for Mum and Dad! Thank you for our families! And thank you for the friends of the “Sonnenschein” Centre!

Saying this “thank you” to God is a beautiful prayer. God likes this way of praying. Then you can also add a little question. For example: Good Jesus, could you help Mum and Dad in their work? Could you give a little comfort to Grandma, who is sick? Could you provide for all the children in the world who have nothing to eat? Or: Jesus, I pray to you to help the pope to guide the Church well. If you ask with faith, the Lord will certainly listen to you.

Finally, I express my gratitude to your parents, your companions, to the president of the Region and all those present. Thank you for this beautiful initiative and for your commitment to the children entrusted to you. Everything that you have done to just one of these little ones, you have done to Jesus! I remember you in my prayer. May Jesus bless you always and Our Lady keep you.

Und bitte vergesst nicht, für mich zu beten. Diese Arbeit ist nicht einfach. Betet für mich bitte. Danke schön!


Read more:
Catholic school awarded for implementing “full inclusion” for people with Down syndrome and autism

© VATICAN MEDIA Via Catholic Press Photo

AutismPope Francis
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