Pope Francis, who is touring the United States this week, posed for the selfies outside the Vatican representation on Washington.
Davidonytė met with the pope dressed in Lithuanian national costume. She said she was quite surprised to be picked as one of a few kids to talk with the head of the Roman Catholic Church. Davidonytė’s comments after the meeting were highly sought after by the US media. Lithuania’s INFO TV talked to the American-Lithuanian teenager on her way to the studio of Fox News.
When you were waiting for Pope Francis to arrive, did you imagine everything would happen the way it did?
No, I did not. When the pope arrived, he first went in the opposite direction of where the Lithuanians were standing. Security staff were instructed to pick three kids from the crowd. They saw that we were wearing traditional costumes, so they picked me, another girl and a boy. All three of us met with the pontiff. The pope gave us his blessing.
What did you tell him?
We greeted him, he blessed us and then we asked him to take a picture with us.
When you did, were you thinking he might refuse?
Sure, he could have, but in worst case he would have said “no” and that’s it. But he agreed and we took the photos.
You’re one of a few people who got to see the pope from so up close. What impression did he make on you?
It’s incredible to meet him, to get his blessing, to have been able to shake his hand. I cannot believe it happened!
How long had you planned to go see the pope?
I learned about it perhaps two weeks ago, that’s when our monsignor was told. We received the Sacrament and then we were invited to the meeting.
You were wearing traditional costume. Why?
As members of the Lithuanian community, we wanted to stand out among the rest of the kids. We wanted to be seen. Others came dressed in, for instance, simple dresses, and we really stood out.
Do you often wear traditional costume?
I put it on during Lithuanian holidays. Once or twice a year.
Did you tell the pope you were from Lithuania?
I did. I was born in Lithuania. Each Saturday we go to the Lithuanian Kristijonas Donelaitis school, we study the Lithuanian language. This year, I started teaching there. Everyone asks me where I was born and I tell them I’m from Lithuania.