Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Oct
  • 23

A papal kiss for Rutland boy

Posted By October 23, 2014 | 4:42 pm | Local
Pope Francis gives Malachy Devine of Rutland a kiss Oct. 8 at the general audience in St. Peter’s Square. (Photo by Osservatore Romano Servizio Fotografico)
Pope Francis gives Malachy Devine of Rutland a kiss Oct. 8 at the general audience in St. Peter’s Square. (Photo by Osservatore Romano Servizio Fotografico)

By Margaret M. Russell

It’s not unusual for Pope Francis to hug and kiss people attending his weekly audience. But a local couple did not expect their baby boy, Malachy, to receive the honor.
Pope Francis blessed and kissed 8-month-old Malachy Francis Devine of Rutland at the general audience, Oct. 8 in St Peter’s Square. Little Malachy was lifted from his father’s outstretched arms to be blessed by Pope Francis who was on his way in to the weekly Wednesday audience.
Malachy’s parents, Kelley (Lamoureux) and Colum Devine, were in Rome for the wedding of Mr. Devine’s sister which was held at St. John Lateran Church. They and other wedding guests attended the papal audience with the newlyweds Colette (Devine) and Daniel Jackson of Derry, Ireland. Colum and Colette’s brother, Father James Devine of Derry, officiated at the wedding. Father Devine was able to secure papal audience tickets for about 50 people who attended the wedding.
“We got up at 5 a.m. and took the train in so we could get near the front,” Mrs. Devine said. They had photos of the sunrise over St. Peter’s Basilica that proved their point. They waited in line with other early-risers and made their way to the front of the seating.
“We noticed people were staying toward the edges,” she said, figuring that was a good vantage point from which to see the Holy Father when he entered St. Peter’s Square in his open popemobile. They ended up in the fourth row from the front, while the newly married couple, dressed in their wedding clothes, was ushered to a different location set aside for those recently married, Mr. Devine noted.
“To see the Pope in front of you was unreal,” Mrs. Devine said.
People on a pilgrimage were in front of the family and told them they should hold up baby Malachy and perhaps the Pope would stop, the couple said. As the Vatican guards and Pope Francis approached the people were shouting “bambino,” “baby” and Colum lifted Malachy into the air. The Vatican guards took him and brought him to Pope Francis who blessed him and kissed him on the head. The Vatican photographers captured the event as did people around the Devine family who later emailed them copies of the photos they had taken.
Ironically, on the other side of the Square the aunt and uncle of the baby boy saw his image on one of the jumbo video screens set up in the square and were delighted when they recognized him, Mr. Devine said.
Malachy was telling his own story during Mass at St. Joseph Church in Charlton Oct. 12. Father Robert A. Grattaroti introduced him to those in attendance showing his picture up and down the aisles before Mass started. “This baby was kissed by the pope,” he announced proudly. “We have a holy baby among us.”
Mrs. Devine, daughter of Patty and Paul Lamoureux, grew up in St. Joseph’s Parish. The couple was married at St. Joseph’s; their oldest daughter Ella was baptized there as was Malachy, whose middle name was chosen in honor of Pope Francis. The family spent several years in Derry, Ireland, Mr. Devine’s homeland and returned to the United States two years ago. They are members of St. Patrick Parish in Rutland where Mr. Devine is also a member of the Knights of Columbus. Ella attends Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Harvard and her younger brother Finnian will follow her there soon, their mother said.
Mrs. Lamoureux was so excited to be the grandmother of a baby kissed by Pope Francis. She said she didn’t know about the blessing until they got off the plane last Friday. “I knew they were going to see the Pope, but I never thought this would happen,” she said.
The Devine family was doubly blessed; the newlyweds had their picture taken with the pope too, Mrs. Lamoureux said.
Malachy was a bit talkative during Mass Sunday, but by the end of the liturgy was fast asleep in his mother’s arms. Some things don’t change even after receiving a papal blessing, the parents noted.
“It was a nice grace,” Mr. Devine said.