A Philadelphia family has credited the miraculous shrinking of their baby’s rare and inoperable brain tumor to a kiss from Pope Francis. The miraculous incident occurred after doctors had told the couple that their 1-year-old daughter, Gianna, had only months to live.
Kristen and Joey Masciantonio from Warrington Township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, said last week that their baby’s inoperable brain tumor reduced in size dramatically after a kiss on head from Pope Francis during his visit to Philadelphia in September, CBS Philadelphia reports.
Kristen and Joey Masciantonio say they have MRI scans to prove the claim that Gianna, their daughter, recieved a divine touch after the encounter with Pope Francis on September 26.
Kristen says that an MRI scan of their daughter’s brain tumor taken in November, after the papal kiss, shows a dramatic reduction in the size of the tumor compared with an MRI scan taken in August before the kiss.
Doctors had told the couple that the tumor, caused by Gianna’s blood cells attacking her brain stem soon after birth, was inoperable.
The little girl had gone through a series of chemotherapy sessions without success, and doctors had given up hope, saying that Gianna probably had only months to live.
“They [doctors] said go home, enjoy the last weeks, maybe months, that you have with her,” Joey said, according to Philly.
According to the Masciantonios, an FBI friend, Donny Asper, tipped them off that Pope Francis would be passing through James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse on Market Street near 7th after delivering an address at Independence Hall on September 26.
Kristen and Joey had planned to drive from Warrington to Philadelphia hoping they would be able to catch a glimpse of the pope. But the tip from their friend gave Kristen the opportunity of fulfilling the dream of having their baby meet the pope.
“He just caught our eye… it’s like God told him,” an excited and relieved Joey said.
As proof the miracle, the couple showed the MRI scans taken in August before the papal kiss and later in November, weeks after the kiss.
The tumor is clearly identifiable in the August MRI but barely visible in the scan taken in November (see video above).
Kristen and Joey Masciantonio believe that the dramatic reduction in the size of the tumor in their daughter’s brain is a miracle from God through Pope Francis.
“She’s getting better and stronger. She’s blowing kisses. She’s starting to point at things,” Kristen said.
The couple also noted that their daughter, Gianna, has a 4-year-old sibling, Dominic. The name of the head of security for the Vatican City — who took Gianna from her mother and lifted her up to the Popemobile for the papal kiss — was Domenico Giani, a combination of the names of the couple’s daughter Gianna and their son Dominic.
Joey and Kristen Masciantonio believe that the double coincidence of names is an indication of the special circumstances of their baby’s miraculous healing.
According to the couple, Pope Francis kissed their daughter on the head where the
tumor was located. Police and security officials cheered and applauded when the baby was lifted up and Pope Francis kissed her.
“It was truly blessed. God really let her know he heard her prayers,” Joey said. “I think this is all from God. I believe the Pope is a messenger from God.”
Gianna Masciantonio is named after St. Gianna Beretta Molla, a pediatrician and Catholic saint who died in 1962 and was canonized in 2004. Little Gianna met the daughter of St. Gianna during Francis’ visit to Philadelphia.
The parents of the little girl say they are optimistic about their daughter’s future and are looking forward to telling how a kiss from the pope healed her.
“Last year was about living in honor of her. Now we’re going to get to live with her,” Joey Masciantonio said.
[Photo By Franco Origlia/Getty Images]