PHILADELPHIA (CBSNewYork) –– The parents of a baby with a brain tumor is calling their daughter’s recent improving health a ‘miracle,’ after the child was blessed by Pope Francis during his papal visit to Philadelphia earlier this year.

The Pope’s Philadelphia stopover followed trips to Washington, D.C. and New York City that featured a touching and emotional stop at Ground Zero where Pope Francis gave comfort to victim’s families.

“She’s getting better and stronger, Kristen Masciantonio, Gianna’s mother, said. “She’s blowing kisses. She’s started pointing at things.”

One year-old Gianna Masciantonio has a rare inoperable brain tumor. Her blood cells attacked her brain stem weeks after birth, and surgery is not an option. The Masciantonio family took Gianna to the papal parade in front of Indenpendence Hall, where she was blessed by the Pope with a kiss, WLNY TV 10/55’s David Spunt reported.

Her family says the tumor has shrunk in the weeks since the visit, and that recovery is clearly visible in recent screenings.

“You can hardly see the tumor,” Kristen Masciantonio said.

Gianna was named for St. Gianna, a modern-day saint who died in 1962. The saint’s daughter was in Philadelphia and met Gianna during the papal weekend. Her parents insist Gianna’s future is a bright one, and they can’t wait to sit down and tell her what a difference a kiss can make.

“Last year was about living in honor of her,” Joey Masciantonio said. “Now we are going to get to live with her.”

Radiologists cannot determine the percentage of the shrinkage because they can no longer tell where the edges of the tumor are.

“I think this is all from God,” Joey Masciantonio said. “The Pope is a messenger from God.”


Leave a Reply