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COPY-Local professor talks about seeing Pope Francis

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The Holy Father’s visit to the United State is bringing back some happy memories for a local family whose son was taken into the arms and embraced by Pope Francis.

“It’s really something unlike anything else,” said Providence College Theology Professor Dr. Paul Gondreau.

The professor and his family witnessed history during the spring of 2013 while he was teaching a semester in Rome.  Pope Benedict XVI made the decision to retire and shortly after the conclave elected Pope Francis.

“I’ll never forget just the excitement.  The excitement that I felt to hear his voice, wow,” said Dr. Gondreau.

That Easter Sunday in Saint Peter's Square Pope Francis took Gondreau’s son Dominic, who has cerebral palsy, into his arms and held him up.

“I looked up at the jumbotron and saw this great image that went viral afterward of Pope Francis embracing my son and move me to tears immediately and it was total disbelief,” said Dr. Gondreau.

Dominic is now 11-years-old and his proud Dad says his son still remembers his special moment.  They’re not making the trip to see the Pope this time, but Dr. Gondreau is encouraging those that can to do so.

“I can only say that you will have an experience unlike anything else in your life,” said Dr. Gondreau.

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