We’re upgrading our login & account system. You can keep reading the site during this time, but in order to migrate accounts, logging in and commenting will be disabled until the end of Monday, April 6.

A boy dying of cancer wanted to be buried near Pope Francis. His wish came true.

The Teutonic cemetery at the Vatican is seen in this 2015 file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)The Teutonic cemetery at the Vatican is seen in this 2015 file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis granted the last wish of an 11-year-old Argentinian boy, called Tomasito, who before dying from cancer asked to be buried near the pope in the Vatican.

In 2015, Francis had Tomasito laid to rest in the Teutonic cemetery in the Vatican, close to the place where St. Peter was executed, next to the famous basilica and less than a 5-minute-walk from Santa Marta, the Vatican guest house where he lives.

Advertisement

This moving story was first reported today by Domenico Agasso, the Vatican correspondent for La Stampa. He wrote that Francis first got to know the boy when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires because the secretary of his auxiliary-bishop was an aunt of the boy. Mr. Agasso said that in 2004 doctors that diagnosed that Tomasito had cancer—a tumor of the kidney—when he was just two years old.

In 2015, Francis had Tomasito laid to rest in the Teutonic cemetery in the Vatican, close to the place where St. Peter was executed.

Cardinal Bergoglio was informed and met the child and young boy on a number of occasions. According to La Stampa, Cardinal Bergoglio was “deeply moved” by the exemplary way he faced his illness as he grew older and by his faith in God. Tomasito bore his sufferings with “great courage” and “prepared for death,” Francis recalled, and with his faith “converted his parents, who then got married in church. He did a miracle.”

Further details on this story were added by Elisabetta Piquè (my wife), correspondent for the Argentine daily, La Nacion, after speaking to Bishop Joaquin Mariano Sucunza, the auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires, who accompanied the boy on his final journey. “Tomasito was a very special boy, very intuitive, who kept going forward [after the early diagnosis] until the illness exploded in his adolescence,” the bishop recalled.

Francis told La Stampa that when it was clear that the end was near, Tomasito’s parents asked him if he had a last wish, and he responded, “I wish to be buried near Pope Francis in the Vatican!”

Tomasito died on July 20, 2013, just over four months after Cardinal Bergoglio was elected pope, and his body was subsequently cremated, Bishop Sucunza told La Nacion.

The boy’s ashes were brought in a box to the Vatican and buried in the Teutonic cemetery where normally only people of Germanic and Flemish origin living in Rome are interred.

Today, Tomasito rests under a simple tombstone in the small cemetery inside the Vatican. His mother and his younger sister have come to the Vatican to pray there, Bishop Sucunza told La Nacion.

“The only thing that he wanted was to be near me, to be buried in the Vatican,” Pope Francis recalled. He made sure the boy’s wish was granted.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

[Explore America’s in-depth coverage of Pope Francis.]

Advertisement

The latest from america

Australian Cardinal George Pell is pictured in Rome May 8, 2014. (CNS photo/Robert Duncan)
The High Court of Australia announced that in a unanimous 7-0 decision, they found that “the jury, acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant’s guilt.”
Gerard O’ConnellApril 06, 2020
Join us throughout the Lenten season as we offer a special presentation of the Gospel, Passion and Resurrection narratives. 
Isabelle SenechalApril 06, 2020
Catholic Charities leaders say that while the government relief package signed into law on March 27 by President Trump will help meet some of the initial need, much more action is needed for charities to be able to meet the expected demand.
A grandmother who has been part of a Catholic Relief Services' program for family nutrition shares her lunch with her youngest of seven grandchildren in the kitchen of the family home in Konjiko, Kenya, in May 2019. Lenten alms donated through the CRS Rice Bowl program support the agency's work in roughly 45 different countries. (CNS photo/Georgina Goodwin for Catholic Relief Services) 
While the Covid-19 pandemic provokes a series of unprecedented measures, other ongoing challenges to human life and dignity—drought, famine, armed conflict and poverty among them—are not offering a time-out from the suffering they inflict.
Kevin ClarkeApril 06, 2020