JOHNSTON, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island couple say they were speechless and moved to tears when Pope Francis hugged and kissed their 8-year-old son in St. Peter’s Square on Easter Sunday.
Paul and Christina Gondreau of Johnston and their five children attended Easter Mass at the Vatican. The pope cradled their son, Dominic, who has cerebral palsy.
Videos and photos of the pontiff standing in the ‘‘popemobile’’ and holding Dominic were transmitted worldwide. Pope Francis also hugged and kissed other children as he greeted the crowd after Mass.
Paul Gondreau is a theology professor at Providence College and is spending this semester in Italy with his family as he teaches in Rome this semester.
A story on the Providence College website says Paul Gondreau called the moment ‘‘an incredibly moving encounter.’’