Meet Philly Mom Whose Baby Was Blessed By Pope Francis

"It felt like a saint holding your child," says Nicole Campuzano, whose son Matthew was born five months ago at CHOP with congenital hydrocephalus.

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The woman screaming on the above video is Nicole Campuzano. But the 32-year-old mother of five (one of whom passed away) has a good reason to be a little excited. On Saturday, down at 5th and Market streets in Philadelphia, Pope Francis blessed her five-month-old son, Matthew. We called the Drexel Hill resident to find out more.

What does it mean to you that Pope Francis blessed Matthew?

To me, one of the holiest men on the planet touched my child, almost a saint. He’s not, but I think he will be, because he’s opened up the church to so many people. It felt like a saint holding your child.

Is Matthew a healthy baby?

He was born with congenital hydrocephalus. He was born at 33 weeks at CHOP and had brain surgery at three days old. And a lot of kids with that condition have mental and physical disabilities. So far, he doesn’t, but yesterday gave us even more hope for the future. Maybe God is smiling on him.

So, my cynical non-Catholic colleagues and I wonder, how much do you have to donate to your local parish to get a blessing from the pope? Is it set up in some way ahead of time?

No. [Laughs]. We didn’t talk to anybody. It was completely random. But I had a feeling. Everything went so smoothly for us, tickets were given to us, we got the spot right up there. My husband Jason just held him up, Secret Service zeroed in on Matthew and gave him to the pope.

Are your other kids jealous?

They’re so excited. My son Jason was a little bit like, He didn’t kiss me! But we told him that an 8-year-old is harder to hold up. They’re telling everybody about it.

How was getting into the city and dealing with security?

We were amazed. I was kind of throwing the city under the bus before this, that they ruined it, that security was out of control. But the process was so streamlined, security was awesome and friendly, SEPTA was awesome and friendly and easy. We were thoroughly impressed, and I went in expecting a nightmare.

Are you going to the papal mass today?

No, we went to mass this morning at our church. We had tickets to the mass, but we are beat. Having four kids down there yesterday, we are so beat. And we kind of feel like we can’t really top yesterday.

How do you grade Pope Francis for this tour? Has he met your expectations?

As a Catholic, or just as a regular person?

Let’s start with as a Catholic.

From a Catholic perspective, we’re very pro-life and man-and-woman marriage, and we were expecting him to speak more about that. We thought he would say more against abortion or same-sex marriage.

But I think he’s trying to remind us that there are other issues very important and that we shouldn’t get caught up in one or two things. He’s great, making us all think no matter what side of the issues we’re on, and making us have conversations that we haven’t had before.

As a regular person, I think he’s so cool. He’s very welcoming. Man, woman, child, you cannot not like him. I was just talking to the parents at the ball field about this: He’s the kind of guy you sit down and have dinner with and not feel intimated.

Wait, you’re at a ball field?

Yep, my son Jason has fall ball today.

Will you be tuned into the mass?

Yes, we will, but after the Eagles of course. The Eagles are on at one, so we should be finishing just in time.

Ha, so what if it’s a very exciting tied game at 4 p.m.?

That’s a tough one. Well, my husband would probably switch to the pope.

I’m sure God will be glad to hear that.



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