Bathed in Light

Paula Flores ’14 and Luis Flores ’14 had an unforgettable 5th wedding anniversary at the Vatican. The biggest highlight? When Pope Francis blessed their baby.

Spending their fifth wedding anniversary at the Vatican felt like a dream realized for Paula Flores ’14 and Luis Flores ’14. Under the domed ceilings, donning traditional white, the pair renewed their vows.

Also wearing white? Their daughter, Atalí, for her baptism.

Even more dreamlike: Atalí was one of a small handful of babies to be blessed by Pope Francis himself.

Pope Francis “was benevolent and enchanting,” Paula says of meeting the pontiff at the Vatican on the day of her daughter’s baptism. “He prayed over our family and proceeded to offer Atalí her pacifier as she enjoyed a nap. That was the most endearing part.” 

While Paula says she and her family cried like a baby during the baptism, little Atalí remained calm and attentive. During the responsorial psalm, Paula says, the baby cooed while the rest of the congregation responded, “Amen,” and gave a high-five to one of the priests as they prayed over her. 

The service included a reading of scripture from Matthew 5:14: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” For Paula, it felt like a reminder to listen to her faith and let it guide her. She hoped that Atalí would find similar guidance and share her light with others.

Paula Flores 3 (1)
In order to have a child be blessed by the pope, parents need to make a request to their parish priest, who must then write a letter of eligibility. As Paula Flores ’14 and Luis Flores ’14 filled out the necessary paperwork they learned a bit of Italian. “Bambina” became their favorite word. Photo provided by Paula Flores.

In a world where there’s so much turmoil and uncertainty, loving someone so profoundly is something that gives you peace and purpose,” Paula says. “Whatever Atalí might choose to practice, [I hope she does] it with a guiding light. May she use that light to practice empathy and live a life that changes the world.

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