Columbus boy gets to meet Pope Francis, ride in Popemobile during trip to Vatican

Local News

A 12-year-old boy from Columbus got the opportunity of the a lifetime while on a trip to the Vatican.

Peter Lombardi got to meet Pope Francis on Wednesday morning, one of his dreams while he was battling leukemia. He’s in 5th grade at St. Andrew School in Upper Arlington and has been in remission since June 2017.

Along with his parents and three older brothers, the Lombardi family is currently on a pilgrimage in Italy and the Vatican.

Peter and his mother Brenda video chatted with NBC4 from Rome, Italy.

“I went (with) the Pope and had fun and the Pope gave me a balloon,” said Peter. “He gave me a kiss and a blessing and a kiss, again!”

Brenda said they got Papal tickets months ago.

“We never intended him to exactly meet the Pope,” she said.

Brenda said their tour guide is friends with the wife of a Swiss Guard, who got them front row seats to see the Pope at the Vatican.

What happened next was a dream come true…

“He (Pope Francis) saw Pete and he told him to come over,” said Brenda. “The guards grabbed Pete and he kissed his head and gave him a blessing and then he said, ‘Stay,’ and he pointed to a seat right behind him.”

Peter got to ride in the Pope-mobile, taking a tour with Pope Francis around St. Peter’s Square.

“When you go through a heavy cross like cancer, leukemia with your child, you see their suffering, but throughout it he always showed us grace. He showed us hope,” said Brenda. “We’re very grateful and humbled and we thank the Lord everyday.”

The Lombardi family still has many more stops to go on their trip. They’ll be traveling around Italy some more, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovnia.

Peter and his family are also going to Disney with the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Besides his dream of meeting Pope Francis, Peter also wants his chance to battle Darth Vader. The Lombardi family will get to go on that trip in December 2019.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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