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Pope’s pick-me-up for new arrivals

Papal attraction:
Pope Francis invited
the children to ride
on his Popemobile
in St Peter’s Square
PICTURES: EPA/AP

THE Pope had a wheelie special treat for eight children when they arrived at the Vatican — he took them for a ride in his Popemobile.

The pontiff picked up the youngsters — all migrants from Syria, Nigeria and Congo — before his weekly audience yesterday, then whizzed around St Peter’s Square with his passengers.

As his vehicle went past crowds, the youngsters waved and gave the thumbs up to worshippers.

The children, who arrived in Rome from Libya, then posed for pictures with the Pope and gave him hugs before bidding him goodbye.

A Vatican spokesman said some of the children had arrived in Italy on a migrant boat a few months ago.

Pope Francis has previously clashed with Italy’s hard-line government about the need to welcome and integrate migrants.

In 2016, he returned home from a trip to Greece with a dozen Syrians onboard his plane.