Joe and Kristen Masciantonio, parents of 1-year-old Gianna, believe God made Pope Francis the instrument to cast down a miracle on their family.
Their baby was born with an inoperable brain tumor. They were only told to enjoy the remaining days or weeks left with their daughter. But two months after Pope visited Philadelphia in September and gave Gianna a kiss in the head, recent scans showed her tumor shrinking.
“Sometimes coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous. The fact that they were literally able to flag the pope down, he stopped and blessed the baby… it’s very special,” Philly Monsignor Mike Mannion told the Philly Daily News.
“I don’t even know how to describe that feeling. The miracle is all the people who prayed. The pope is just the messenger that God heard,” Joe said.
The father initially did not want to bring Gianna at Market Street, fearing that large crowd will be stressful for her. But Kristen had actually dreamed of Gianna meeting the pope weeks before the pontiff came to Philly. She put a strong feet forward, adamant that they should bring the baby.
Gianna had a rare form of brain tumor called systemic juvenile xanthogranuloma that developed months after she was born, Joe and Kristen told the ABC News. Specialists saw an untreatable tumor sitting on her brain. They told Joe and Kristen that Gianna would likely not survive for more than a few weeks. The tumor was benign but its location is fatal. Its position may stop Gianna from breathing, thereby stopping her heart from beating.
On September 26, Joe and Kristen received a tip from their friend Donny Asper, an FBI agent. He told the loving parents that Pope Francis would pass by James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse on Market Street near 7th. The family made it to the city 40 minutes from Warrington. They held Gianna up until the Popemobile came near them. Joe said at that very moment, Pope Francis caught their eyes. The pontiff’s head security then brought Gianna over to Pope Francis who kissed her on the head, right where her tumor was.
After the Popemobile left, other FBI agents cheered for Gianna, some with tears in their eyes. Everybody joined hands in prayer at the bureau’s chaplain. The rest of the story was known today as the Miracle on Market Street.
— David Spunt (@DavidSpuntCBS3) September 28, 2015