An Argentine boy recently made the special effort to walk 11 kilometers (about seven miles) on muddy roads to receive the sacrament of confirmation, and the news reached Pope Francis, who sent him a blessing.

Maximiliano Pavillaux, 11, has been living along with his parents and four siblings in the rural area around Suipacha, a small town in Buenos Aires province, since December 2022.

Throughout the year, the boy has been preparing to receive the sacrament of confirmation, which was scheduled for Nov. 11.

To help him prepare, week after week, his catechist, Eva, sent the study materials to his house. However, as the date for the sacrament approached, worsening weather conditions threatened his being confirmed.

The night before confirmation, and in the midst of incessant rain, Carola and Rolando, Maximiliano’s parents, began to worry because the family vehicles were not going to be able to make it to town on the muddy country roads, and the tractor they use to work the fields had broken down that same week.

There was an alternative, but the parents thought the child wouldn’t accept it: walk seven miles in the mud. However, to their surprise, Maxi said yes.

The boy and his parents left at 7 a.m. so they could reach the church in time for the ceremony that would begin at 10:30 a.m.

“Our boots sank in the mud, we slid,” Maximiliano recalled, speaking with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. On the way, the father joked with the little boy: “When you grow up, you’re going to have a good story to tell.” But they didn’t expect his story to reach so many people.

Upon arriving at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Suipacha, Eva, his catechist, was waiting for him in tears: “She was very happy,” the newly confirmed said.

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The priest who offered the Mass mentioned the little boy’s feat as an example to follow, and many came up later to congratulate him.

After the ceremony, “we came away relieved. I was ‘on cloud nine’ all week," the boy’s mother confessed. “We didn’t regret anything, we were happy.”

But the impact did not end there. In recent days, Maximiliano’s story reached the ears of Pope Francis, who sent him his apostolic blessing and a gift from Rome.

The framed apostolic blessing and the gifts of the Holy Father were given to Maxi at last Sunday’s Mass, which was celebrated by Bishop Mauricio Landra, the auxiliary bishop of Mercedes-Luján, who made a special trip to Suipacha to place the recognition from the pope in the boy’s hands.

“I can’t stop crying,” Maxi’s mother told ACI Prensa, highlighting the warmth of the Suipacha community, which came to visit her son and also brought him gifts. “It’s a paradise,” she said.

The protagonist of the story shared with ACI Prensa that “everyone was very happy,” even his rural school classmates, who were “impressed.”

To other children who are preparing to receive the sacrament of confirmation, Maximilian reminded them “that Jesus awaits you and will always be with you, just as he will be with me.”

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This story was first publishedby ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.