.- Rajiv Janine is an 18 year-old Sri Lankan who was left without his arms after a train accident. On Wednesday he fulfilled his dream of meeting Pope Benedict XVI and receiving his blessing after yesterday's general audience.
Rajiv told the Holy Father his story and asked for a special blessing for his brother, who will soon be ordained to the priesthood, and for his sister who is a nun in the Philippines. His older sister who helps take care of him was also present at the audience.
The prosthetic arms that Rajiv wears were purchased with help from a group of Italians that is also engaged in a series of solidarity projects in Sri Lanka to aid those affected by the 2004 tsunami, Fr. Giuseppe Iasso explained.
He told LâOsservatore Romano the money raised to help Rajiv was collected by âsending letters and knocking on the doors of parishes and families until $56,000 dollars were raised. Many kids gave all of their savings and even an elderly woman in a wheelchair helped us with her savings.â
The meeting with Pope Benedict took place after the priest sent a letter to the Holy Father recounting Rajivâs story.
âI opened my priestly heart to him and Benedict XVI wanted to personally meet with this young man to encourage him. Rajivâs testimony, with his serenity despite all the pain of his handicap, is an invitation for all those who suffer not to be discouraged and to never lose hope,â he said in conclusion.