Meet Vinicio Riva, the Disfigured Man Embraced by Pope Francis


Photo: CNN

You've probably seen the photo of Pope Francis embracing a disfigured man, whose body has been scarred by neurofibromatosis. The photo (below), which went viral, provoked an outpouring of sympathy for the man ... and sparked the hunt to find who he is.


Photo: Claudio Peri/Nacion

CNN's Rome correspondents spent weeks trying to find and talk to him, and they've finally succeeded. Meet Vinicio Riva, the disfigured man embraced by the Pope:

"When he came close to us," [Vinicio's aunt] said, "I thought he would give me his hand. Instead he went straight to Vinicio and embraced him tightly. I thought he wouldn't give him back to me he held him so tightly. We didn't speak. We said nothing but he looked at me as if he was digging deep inside, a beautiful look that I would never have expected."

Vinicio, accustomed to stares of shock and fear, was initially confused by the pontiff's lack of hesitation. "He didn't have any fear of my illness," he said. "He embraced me without speaking ... I quivered. I felt a great warmth."

Read the rest over at CNN.


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