Determined to meet Pope Francis and deliver a plea for help in pushing for immigration reform, 5-year-old Sophie Cruz traveled to Washington, D.C., this week with her father and fellow members of downtown L.A.'s Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church.
In what some might describe as a miraculous development, her goal was realized Wednesday when the girl was plucked from a massive crowd of onlookers and personally greeted by the pontiff.
A member of the pope's security detail picked up Sophie and carried her over to the passing "popemobile" after it left the White House for a procession on the streets of the Capitol. The pontiff then kissed the girl on the cheek and gave her a blessing before she handed him a letter she had written.
Later, in an interview, Sophie recited the heartfelt note from memory.
"My name is Sophie Cruz. I am 5 years old," she said. "I am an American citizen with Mexican roots. I live in Los Angeles, California, in a heart of agriculture. My parents are immigrants from Oaxaca, Mexico."
"Pope Francis, I want to tell you that my heart is heart is sad," she continued. "I would like to ask you to speak with the president and the Congress in legalizing my parents, because every day I am scared that one day they will take them away from me."