Pope blessing Five-year-old Cyprien Flour at the Zayed sports city stadium in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Dubai: Five-year-old Cyprien Flour may not understand for now why a grandpa in a white robe lovingly held his head one Tuesday morning amidst a massive crowd. But he will later on.

The French boy received what tens of thousands of parents had prayed for during the Papal Mass in Abu Dhabi— to be blessed by Pope Francis.

Jean Baptiste, Cyprien’s father, said they were not expecting the Popemobile to stop next to them while the pontiff was being toured around the Zayed Sports City Stadium.

Cyprien with his parents
Cyprien with his parents and sister at the Zayed stadium. Image Credit: Janice Ponce de Leon/Gulf News

“It happened quickly. The Popemobile stopped and I lifted my son up and the Pope touched his head and blessed him,” Baptiste, whose family arrived at the stadium at 4am, told Gulf News.

Unlike in many of his public appearances in other countries where the Pope would motion the driver to stop so he could bless children and people of determination along the way, the Popemobile didn’t make several stops at the stadium.

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No Swiss Guard “kid-fetcher” was there as well, making Cyprien’s brief encounter with the Pope a rather special one for his parents.

“To be fair, I think Cyprien doesn’t realise what it means yet. When I told him about the Pope, he said, ‘I’m being blessed by the priests every Saturday,’” the father of three said. “But I am sure he is going to get a lot of benediction out of it. It’s a unique moment in his life and I’m glad that today we can take photo of this moment and he’s going to remember it forever.”

At just age five, Cyprien is already actively serving at church.

“He’s the youngest servant in St Francis Church in Dubai. He goes to church every Saturday. He’s a good boy. We’re doing our best to educate our children about our faith,” Baptiste said.

Cyprien’s mother Sixtine described her son as an obedient boy who prays a lot.

“He wants to have his First Communion [a Catholic rite of passage] already but I explained that he’s still too young for it,” Sixtine said, smiling. “I hope he will receive a lot of blessings from today and he will grow up to be a faithful servant of God.”