-- Catholic News Agency
Boy Who Embraced Pope Receives Hero's Welcome At School
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL, August 1 (CNA) .- The young boy who brought Pope Francis to tears during World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro was greeted with cheers from his classmates when school resumed on July 30.
According to Brazil's O Globo TV network, nine-year-old Nathan de Brito was received amidst applause from his schoolmates in the city of Cabo Rio. Wearing World Youth Day apparel and a cross, he was "given a hero's welcome," the network reported.
"Everyone already knew about his desire to be a priest and wanted to know about his encounter with the Pope and how he found the courage to get past the security guards."
His friends said they were excited to know that one of their own was very close to the Pope, and de Brito's family said they feel "very blessed."
"I need to learn a little bit of theology," the boy said with a smile, adding that he is ready for "everything" that the priestly vocation demands.
During the papal motorcade through Rio on July 26, de Brito broke through the security barrier and climbed onto the popemobile to greet Pope Francis. He expressed his desire to be a priest, and the Holy Father said he would pray for him.
Keyla Fernandes, one of his teachers, said de Brito has excellent grades and behavior.
"His good behavior shows the Christian principles that have been rooted in him, such as obedience," she stated.
Father Valdir Mesquita, the pastor of the parish where de Brito attends Mass, predicted that his encounter with the Pope "will inspire many others to want to be priests."
Ever since age five or six, "he was already saying he wanted to be a priest," Fr. Mesquita said. "This encounter will certainly remain in his heart and will forever change his life."
To share this story with a friend, click on one of the share icons at the top of this page.