Pope Francis delighted with ‘Lolo Kiko’ doll gift

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Filipino priest Fr. Robert Young surprises Pope Francis by handling him a "Francis doll" made in the Philippines. (Photo from Vatican Radio)

MANILA, Feb. 12, 2016— In one of the lighter moments of Pope Francis’ visit to the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, he smiled and received a look-alike doll from a Filipino priest.

Fr. Robert Young, a priest from the Prelature of Batanes, said it was a now or never situation as he took the chance to give his gift to the Pope inside the Rome’s cathedral.

“I thought I have to do something as I wouldn’t have another chance like this,” Young, who is taking up a Doctorate in Canon Law at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, told CBCPNews.

The pontiff paid a visit to the cathedral on Thursday for his annual meeting with the Roman clergy, and wherein he also heard several priests’ confessions.

After his brief speech, the Pope excused himself because he had to prepare for his trip to Mexico, skipping the regular greetings and handshaking with the bishops and priests.

When the Pope got down from the platform, Young crossed security lines and ran towards the Pope and shouted, “Santo Padre!”

When he reached the Pope, Young told him in Italian, “Here’s a gift for you, made in the Philippines by a friend of mine.”

He said the Pope smiled and said: “Oh, Lolo Kiko! Is it for me?”

“I said, ‘yes’ and he replied, ‘grazie’. And then I kissed his hand,” Young recalled.

It was a brief moment, but for the Filipino priest, it was like “eternity.”

“The feeling is so light and happy and it lingers as a lifetime memory,” said Young, who is residing at the Pontificio Collegio Filippino.

He said the doll came from his friend in Manila who made “Francis dolls” as souvenirs for the papal visit to the Philippines in January 2015. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

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