PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two months ago, Warrington residents Joey and Kristen Masciantonio say they experienced a miracle when Pope Francis spontaneously kissed their one-year-old daughter, Gianna, on the head.
Now, two months later, they believe it helped lead to recent scans that show barely any sign of Gianna’s tumor.
Gianna has a rare, inoperable brain tumor.
Her blood cells attacked her brain stem weeks after birth and surgery is not an option.
The Masciantonio clan showed up for the papal parade in front of Independence Hall, expecting maybe a quick glance. They got much more, thanks to a friend from the FBI.
“I think this is all from God. I believe the Pope is a messenger from God,” her father Joey Masciantonio told Eyewitness News.
The man who held Gianna for the Pope is Domenico Giani. He is the Pope’s bodyguard.
Dominic is the name of Gianna’s older brother, and the Masciantonio family believes the similar names is just another sign of divine intervention. They say the proof is in the scans.
The August scan shows the tumor.
In the November scan, it’s hard to find proof of a tumor.
“She’s getting better and stronger. She’s blowing kisses. She’s starting to point at things,” Kristen Masciantonio told Eyewitness News.
Gianna was named for St. Gianna, a modern-day saint who died in 1962. Saint Gianna’s daughter was in Philadelphia and met little Gianna during the papal weekend. Her parents insist Gianna’s future is a bright one, and they can’t wait to sit down to show her and tell her what a difference a kiss can make.
“Last year was about living in honor of her. Now we’re going to get to live with her,” Joey Masciantonio said.