Pope Francis Blesses Visually Impaired Reporter’s Guide Dog

Newly elected Pope Francis blesses Asià and Alessandro Forlani.

photo by L’Osservatore Romano / Associated Press

The pomp and circumstance surrounding the recent election of Pope Francis involved a short breach of protocol on Saturday, when the pontiff took a moment to bless the guide dog of a visually impaired radio reporter. Alessandro Forlani and Asià were at an event where the pope thanked all the journalists who had come to the Vatican to cover the conclave last week. At first, the security guard told Forlani that the dog probably would not be allowed into the Paul VI audience hall, but then something remarkable happened:

While the journalists lined up to be greeted by Pope Francis – some performing the “baciamano,” the traditional kissing the pope’s ring, others embracing him in bear hugs – Vatican officials approached Forlani.

“They said that Pope Francis had asked to meet me. He had seen Asià and wanted to see both of us,” Forlani said.

The formality of such momentous occasions often overshadows everything else, but the photo of Pope Francis bending down to pet the beautiful Labrador Retriever added a touch of humanity.

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Asià was among the first creatures physically blessed by the new pope.

photo via discovery.com

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