426565_446365928772581_57527333_nThe Pope Breaks with Tradition to Interact with a Guide Dog: Only two days after being elected Pope, Pope Francis met with a large group of journalists to thank them for their work during the conclave. Alessandro Forlani, a radio journalist who is visually impaired, was lined up outside in hopes of meeting the Pope. Guards had told him that it was unlikely he would be able to see the Pope because of his guide dog, Asia. To Alessandro’s surprise, he was singled out and escorted to the front rows before the stage. After Pope Francis had delivered his speech for the journalists, Alessandro and Asia were escorted up and on the stage, learning that the Pope had asked to meet them. This was a break from tradition in that the Pope would not usually see people on stage who had not been pre-arranged.

When they approached the new Pope, Asia sniffed his robes gently and then stood patiently. Alessandro asked for a blessing for his wife and daughter. Pope Francis obliged and also volunteered a blessing for Asia, reaching down to touch her. This Pope is the first Pope to choose the name Francis, and did so in honor of St. Francis of Assisi – who among other accolades is known as the patron saint of animals.

— with Ppnp Iau Yang.

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