February 21, 2018


On January 28th, 2018 The Roman Pontiff, Pope Francis, made a visit to the Basilica of Holy Sophia* in Rome where he met a large crowd of the Italy's Ukrainian community. Now, will he also travel to Ukraine? A little Ukrainian boy, that is presently living in Rome and is "a pal" of the Holy Father, is certain of the answer to that question. Six-year old Davey is convinced that if he was successful in inviting the Pope Francis to Holy Sophia Cathedral and the Roman Pontiff fulfilled his promise to him, then a visit to Ukraine is definitely on the horizon.

The moving story of the little Ukrainian and his encounter with Pope Francis was shared by the Father and Head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav. He shared this on a direct broadcast of the popular program of the Ukrainian Catholic broadcaster ‘Living TV' entitled "Open Church".

"I'll tell you a story about little David. This young boy had his first audience with Pope Francis a few years ago. There he was holding a child's painting of the Cathedral of Holy Sophia. There is even a picture from that time with Pope Francis giving him a hug. The Roman Pontiff asked the little boy what he had painted. The little boy immediately answered, ‘this is our church in Rome. Come visit us!' And the Holy Father let him know that he would accept the invitation. So, the boy was convinced that when the Pope came to Holy Sophia Basilica in Rome it was in response to his invitation!"

The boy and his mother have lived in Italy for a few years now as the boy is fighting a serious illness, a tumor. However, obviously he has not lost his optimism and hope.

His Beatitude continued, "and as I was a witness to this meeting between the boy and the Pope, the little boy said to him these very words, "I thank you, that you came, that you kept your word! I want to ask you - pray for Ukraine! You know how terrible it is when a mother cries because they killed her son'"

The Head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church goes on to tell how moved the Holy Father was by such sobering words from a little boy. He responded to the child: "I promise you that I will pray for the mothers of Ukraine!" After a moment of reflection the boy with confidence said to the Head of the Catholic Church: "Come to Ukraine, Okay? I am inviting you!"

His Beatitude added that when some of some priests chatting with the boy the next day asked him how his meeting with the Pope went, he said, "I am certain that the Pope will come to Ukraine, because he knows how to keep his word!"

At the end of his interview, His Beatitude Sviatoslav stated, "We hope that this comes to pass. Children are telling us that the Pope Francis is definitely coming. We truly want this visit to happen!"

[Source: UGCC Department of Information]

[Comments about the little boy & the Pope begin from 43:45]


* often referred to in English as "Saint Sophia"

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