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Dear Pope Francis

Francis-CoverThe experience of a good book is wonderful. Once you begin, it is hard to put it down. I recently had this experience from an unexpected source: a book for children. I suppose I should have known better, given that it was a book where Pope Francis answered letters from children around the world. But Dear Pope Francis, released March 1st by Loyola Press, is a book for not just for children but for all children of God, even older ones like me.

Ryan an 8 year old from Canada, dives right into the deep end of the theological pool asking “What did God do before the world was made?” The Pope’s response wraps the profound in simple, easy to understand language

Original letters from children along with their drawings were collected and given to Pope Francis. All told 259 letters, from 26 countries, written in 14 different languages, were gathered. From those letters 30 questions and answers were bound together in this extraordinary work. The children ask simple, direct questions. But while the questions come from children, they lead to the profound. In their innocence, they cut to the heart of the challenges of Christian life and the issues facing the world today.

Consider the 10 year old from Syria who asks “Will the world be again as it was in the past?” or the 8 year old who asks “What did God do before the world was made?”

There are also touching personal questions, “What makes you happy in your work?”, “Where is your favorite place to pray?” and “Who did you want to be when you were my age?”

Thierry a 7 year old from Australia ask about the poor and those who have no food. He wonders “Can God give the poor people some food like he fed the 5000 people? ” The Pope answers “Yes, yes!” and tells him how.

In the editorial notes, the interviewer who presented the letters and recorded the Pope’s responses comments that after leafing through the letters, the Pope said “But these are tough questions!” They are. His answers, discernable to children and adults alike, bring clarity to issues of faith, family, and relationships.

Faith, an 8 year old from Singapore, asks a question that might make her parents cringe: “Why do you need that tall hat?” She follows up with a theological question related to saints and the “stigmata”!
Every day children ask parents, grandparents and other adults questions about the world, relationships and life. It is a blessing and a challenge to answer those questions and help form the hearts, minds and souls of children. In Dear Pope Francis, the Pope’s first book for children, he shows us how.
William, a 7 year old living in the United States, asks "If you could do one miracle what would it be?" The Pope not only shares his answer, but comments on Williams's drawing.
William, a 7 year old living in the United States, asks “If you could do one miracle what would it be?”
The Pope not only shares his answer, but comments on Williams’s drawing.
 With his optimistic heart, Pope Francis writes with an honesty that will impact every reader long after the final page is turned.
Our copy of the book came home with me the day it arrived. I read parts of it to my children, even those who were teens and young adults. We need a new copy now, because our oldest took it home with him to share with his wife and our grandchild.

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