BRECKSVILLE, Ohio - At age 9, Rocco Grassi, enjoys things that most school-age children do during the summer months when school is out. However, Rocco stepped out of his usual activities in the sunshine when he wrote a prayer and e-mailed it to Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis was apparently so moved by the youngster's prayer, he put it on the Pontiff's Facebook page and included a peace prayer to accompany the one Rocco had written.
"I was kind of shocked," Rocco said. "It makes me feel great."
Rocco, a devout Catholic who will enter the fourth-grade at St. Michael's School in Independence, wrote his peace prayer to Pope Francis several days ago. Labeling it "Peace Prayer of Rocco," the youngster printed his prayer in pencil.
"Lord, make me an instrument of my work. Where there is hatred bring peace. Where there is doubt trust." With it, Rocco drew a picture of a priest and included a printed copy of the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis.
When Pope Francis received Rocco's e-mail prayer, the Pontiff put it, Rocco's drawing, and the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis on the Pope's Facebook page. Pope Francis wrote his own comments.
"A 9 years old child, call Rocco made this," wrote the spiritual leader. "Great is the wisdom of the Lord! God Almighty, Your Wisdom includes An understanding of what is fair."
Rocco, just in from a day of playing , when he heard the Pope had responded to his e-mail said he flashed a big smile. Many of his friends and his parents' friends have seen the Pope's page and said they were impressed.
"It makes me know that God is watching me," Rocco said. "Although I already knew that," showing a spiritual confidence.
"We are so proud of Rocco, "said his mother, Francine Grassi. The family attends St. Basil Church in Brecksville. Grassi said she and her husband speak daily to their son about the importance of his faith.
"He is a very prayerful child," she said. Grassi is a makeup artist for NewsChannel5.
This summer, when he is not writing Pope Francis at the Vatican, Rocco Grassi rides his bike and goes swimming. He said he might write the Pope again.
"Maybe we can be pen pals," he said.