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Picture of Pope kissing, blessing disfigured man at Vatican goes viral

Pope embraces disfigured man.jpg

Pope Francis embraced a man whose genetic disorder causes tumors on his head, in a powerful moment that went viral. (EPA/CLAUDIO PERI)

A touching image of Pope Francis tenderly embracing a severely disfigured man in St Peter’s Square has gone viral.

Pope Francis kissed and blessed the man, whose face was covered in boils, after his general address at the Vatican on Wednesday. The pope laid his hands on the head of the sick man, who is believed to be suffering from the rare disease Neurofibromatosis, and closed his eyes in prayer.

Pope Francis has drawn comparisons to his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi — the revered 13th-century holy figure who was known for his kindly nature and love for the sick and poor.

Earlier in his address at the Vatican, Pope Francis asked the crowd to pray for a sick little girl that he had just met.

A champion of the underdog, Pope Francis — who is also a prolific user of Twitter — also tweeted: “We need courage if we are to be faithful to the Gospel.”

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