BY Ryan McDougall | April 12 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Celtic’s new number 11: Lourdes volunteer presents grandson’s gift to Pope Francis

A seven-year-old boy from Glasgow and his Lourdes volunteer grandmother have teamed-up to recruit a new centre forward for Celtic FC, and he’s pretty handy with a cross.

Pope Francis was presented with a custom made Celtic shirt at his weekly general audience on April 3 by Elaine Faulds.

The grandmother was in Rome with Across—a charity which takes people with special care needs to Lourdes—and she explained how the special gift for the Holy Father came from her grandson.


Saving his pennies

Elaine said her grandson Kian, a parishioner of St Thomas’ in Riddrie, saved up his pocket money to buy the Pope his jersey.

“It was just wonderful,” Elaine said. “I handed [the shirt] over to a guard who gave it to the Pope and he said, ‘God bless you and God bless the child.’

“My wee grandson was delighted when I told him that.

“Kian can’t wait to go back to school and tell all his friends—everybody’s buzzing about it.”


‘An absolute ball’

Kian asked his Gran if she thinks the Pope will wear his newly gifted top, and Elaine joked: “I said to him maybe he’s a wee bit old to play football now, but maybe he will when he’s watching a game on the telly.

“The whole group have had an absolute ball due to meeting the Pope,” Elaine said.

“One of the other ladies gave him a bottle of good whisky and he smiled.”


The Jumbulance

Across uses a specially adapted bus, the Jumbulance, to take pilgrims to Lourdes and Elaine has her fingers crossed that Celtic FC will offer a donation following the papal meeting.

“People from Across work their hearts out to make every pilgrimage great,” Elaine said.

“I’m going to speak to Celtic and see if they can make a donation because my grandson helped them get all this publicity!”

The shirt hand-over was also witnessed by Paul and Maureen Burns of Carfin.

Maureen said it was ‘fabulous’ to witness Pope Francis receive his gift.

She added: “We had done a tour of the Vatican on the Tuesday, and as it turned out the other pilgrims were there too. It was lovely—we got some fabulous photos.”

To donate to Across, visit

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