The little girl who stole the show during the Pope’s visit; these pictures you won’t see anywhere else

An incredible moment
An incredible moment

WASHINGTON D.C. — I often joke that God is a journalist. Or at least studied journalism at some point. Why? Because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done nothing really special and an incredible moment just unfolded in front of me.

IMG_9541 (424x600)Today might be the best of them, however. I was a few feet away when Pope Francis plucked a little girl out of the crowd and hugged her from his Popemobile. The five-year-old girl, Sophia Cruz (that’s how the family spelled it, but other media is spelling it Sofia) was there as part of a group that had traveled from Los Angeles.

They wanted to speak to the pope about immigration reform, and the girl had already been on TV earlier in the day,   The letter she handed him asked for help with the deportation of parents and the separation of families.

It was an incredible moment.  The Pope, you might have heard, is struggling with sciatica on the trip. He has appeared old and frail on TV at times.  But he looked like a spry young priest when he called for the girl, and you can see in his face how much he loves human contact.

The girl had tried to climb the barricade in front of her and was pushed back by security until the Pope called for her, and asked to see the letter she had written for him.  When she returned to the crowd, it seemed she would faint. She was clearly overcome. She was famous instantly.  A crush of journalists surrounded her; people there to see the Pope now wanted Sophia’s picture, too.

And that security guard? Well he went up to Sophia afterwards and said, “You are very brave.”

The crush of people around me was wild, and I’m lucky I got any shots at all.  Frankly, as often happens, I was delighted to see what images popped up on my screen — I was just holding my camera overhead holding down the shutter, basically. As I said, God is a journalist.  Or at least, sometimes, roots for them.


My friend Sandra Lilley at NBC Latino just posted a story with even more more details about Sofia, and used a few of my photos.

CBS News says it has obtained the letter she handed the pope.  Here’s a link to a Tweet with the picture

Cruz letter

And here’s a link to a translation of the letter.  

It reads, in part, “My heart is sad because I am scared that one day ICE will deport my parents.”


Here she is waiting for the Pope (at left)
Here she is waiting for the Pope (at left)

Here are far too many pictures of the scene because, well, can you ever see too many pictures of the Pope hugging an adorable little girl?

(Photos continue just below.)

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Look at how brave this little girl is.



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About Bob Sullivan 1638 Articles
BOB SULLIVAN is a veteran journalist and the author of four books, including the 2008 New York Times Best-Seller, Gotcha Capitalism, and the 2010 New York Times Best Seller, Stop Getting Ripped Off! His latest, The Plateau Effect, was published in 2013, and as a paperback, called Getting Unstuck in 2014. He has won the Society of Professional Journalists prestigious Public Service award, a Peabody award, and The Consumer Federation of America Betty Furness award, and been given Consumer Action’s Consumer Excellence Award.

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