Dear Pope Francis,
Just when I think I can’t like you anymore, I do. You talk the talk and walk the walk, there’s no quality that is more admirable in my mother heart. I have four children and my youngest has extra special needs and like you, my priest welcomes him even when he circles the altar. It means so much, a smile and words of acceptance. It means so much.
Yesterday, a little girl with extra special needs of her own escaped from her seat and I imagine her mother pondered what to do so as to not make a big scene. We all know chasing causes giggles and running. Her daughter made her way towards you and when your security guards moved in to return her to her seat, you waved them away, paused and spoke to her.
“Come sit next to me,” you said.
And so, she did. The little girl with Down syndrome climbed up in that big old fancy chair and you held her hand as you continued the service. You have remarked that people with disabilities face an “attitude of rejection” in today’s society. Not from you, they don’t.
Thank you for the gesture, thank you for seeing the child, thank you for your kind invitation and thank you for your example of real inclusion. That’s all special needs families really wish for their precious little people, just a kind hand, a welcoming word, a seat amongst the world.
Adrian H. Wood
Mother to Thomas, Russell, Blair, & Amos