IMMIGRATION GROUP PLANNED GIRL’S POPE ENCOUNTER FOR A YEAR

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sophie Cruz’s brief encounter with Pope Francis during his parade in Washington this week appeared to be the kind of spontaneous moment that is so endearing about this pope: an initially hesitant young child wrapping an arm around his neck as he offers a kiss and a blessing.

But for 5-year-old Sophie, the moment unfolded as perfectly as it was scripted by members of a coalition of Los Angeles-based immigration rights groups. They had been preparing for nearly a year for the young girl from suburban Los Angeles to make a dash for the popemobile to deliver a message about the plight of immigrant parents living in the country illegally.

They had even pulled off a similar public-relations coup a year ago in Rome using a 10-year-old girl with the pope.

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