This afternoon, when the Holy Father visited the Nunciature, many “saints” greeted him. This was the archbishop of Panamá, Monsignor José Ulloa’s idea, along with the “Amigos de Jesús y María” (Friends of Jesus and Mary) ministry, which consisted of children dressed as saints who gave a warm welcome to the Pope, which also became a call to holiness.
Among the group of children were José Cruz Dodero Dolega, 10, José Miguel Spiegel, 8, André Philippe Leignaider, 7, and Nicole Spiegel, 9. These children were very happy to meet Pope Francis.
They hoped that the Holy Father would bless their families, the poor, and Panama.
José Cruz chose to portray Saint José Gabriel del Rosario Brochero because both the saint and the pope are from Argentina. Miguel chose to be Saint Juan Diego, the mexican saint to whom Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared and because he is one of the patron saints of World Youth Day. André had no difficulty inclining toward Saint Andrew the Apostle. Meanwhile, Nicole chose Saint Rose of Lima because the saint is from Peru, she is the first saint of the Americas, and is also a patron saint of World Youth Day.
After this experience, they will tell their friends that they were chosen to sing and dance before the Pope, that they are very happy for this experience, and that they are so privileged because they will be seen throughout the world. The parents were proud of their children and they anxiously awaited the meeting of their children and the Holy Father. Juan Cruz’s mom, Tatiana Dolega, said they were chosen by two organizations, one of which was “Amigos de Jesús y María.”
They asked the Pope to pray for their families, for the poor, for Panama, for the whole world, and for children and young people. They also told him that the children pray for him. Little André told the Pope, “Hello, Father, my name is André, [give me five].”
“Amigos de Jesús y María” is a ministry that offers prayer groups for children in order to teach them the message of God’s love and the teachings of the Catholic faith. This ministry was created in response to the call of Our Lady of Fatima, in which she asked the children to pray, to make reparation, and to love Jesus. This ministry has existed in Panama since 1997