Josefa Rodríguez and Amaro Pesquero were not expecting to receive a letter from Pope Francis.
But that's exactly what happened last September, when the Pope
himself thanked them in his own handwriting for the donation they had
made for the persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
Josefa and Amaro are a married couple from Fuenlabrada, Madrid,
Spain, who made a pilgrimage to Rome on the occasion of the Holy Year of
Mercy in August 2016.
“My wife bought a prayer book on Divine Mercy and got in contact with
this apostolate so they could send her more books so she could to give
them away to others. Then they informed her that there was going to be a
pilgrimage to Rome and we signed up,” Amaro Pesquero told CNA.
But in addition to going on pilgrimage for the Jubilee, the retired
couple brought a gift that they had gathered together with a lot of
effort and that they wanted to give to the Holy Father: a sum of money
they wished to donate for the persecuted Christians.
“We wanted it to be for the persecuted Christians of the Middle East,
because we thought that they're the ones who need it the most right
now,” Amaro said.
At the general audience in Saint Peter's Square, they gave the
envelope with the letter and the money to their fellow pilgrim who was
going to greet Pope Francis on behalf of the entire group and who was
able to personally hand it to the pontiff.
It was a sum of money that they never thought would get a response,
but Pope Francis replied to them in his own handwriting, thanking them
“for this gesture of concrete charity” along with two holy cards with
prayers to Saint Joseph and Saint Therese of Lisieux.
Amaro explained that “the letter was late in arriving because it
didn't come by ordinary mail, but in the diplomatic pouch of the Diocese
“Someone at the Diocese came to our house, but we weren't there and
when we returned, our neighbor told us we needed to go there to pick up
something important,” he said. “We went and it was from the Holy
In his letter the Pope told them: “I have received your letter of
this past Aug. 2 with the donation included…to help the persecuted
Christians, particularly in the countries of the Middle East.”
“I thank you from the heart for this gesture of concrete charity and
ask the Lord to abundantly reward you. I ask you, please, to not forget
to pray for me so that I can be faithful to the Lord in this ministry.
May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin care for you.”
However, this is not the first time that a pontiff wrote to this
couple from Fuenlabrada – Saint John Paul II also thanked them for a
As the couple told CNA, “we were able to greet Pope John Paul II in
person, we shook hands with him and gave him a donation. He replied to
us through his secretary and he also sent us a small card showing his
thanks in his own handwriting.”