Parents: Speechless after Pope hugged disabled son

Associated Press
Pope Francis hugs a child after celebrating his first Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, March 31, 2013. Pope Francis celebrated his first Easter Sunday Mass as pontiff in St. Peter's Square, packed by joyous pilgrims, tourists and Romans and bedecked by spring flowers.Wearing cream-colored vestments, Francis strode onto the esplanade in front of St. Peter's Basilica and took his place at an altar set up under a white canopy. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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Pope Francis hugs a child after celebrating his first Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, March 31, 2013. Pope Francis celebrated his first Easter Sunday Mass as pontiff in St. Peter's Square, packed by joyous pilgrims, tourists and Romans and bedecked by spring flowers.Wearing cream-colored vestments, Francis strode onto the esplanade in front of St. Peter's Basilica and took his place at an altar set up under a white canopy. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

JOHNSTON, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island couple says 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 teaching this semester in Rome.

A story on the Providence College website says Paul Gondreau called the moment "an incredibly moving encounter." He says his son teaches him daily lessons about how to love.

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