WASHINGTON — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is opening up about his face time with Pope Francis during the pontiff’s visit to D.C. last week.
“It was the highlight of my life,” Hogan said at the Maryland State House.
For the past several months, Hogan has been undergoing cancer treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Hogan said he was introduced to Pope Francis at Catholic Charities in D.C. on Thursday, and he said the Holy Father was aware of his cancer diagnosis.
After asking the Pope to say a prayer for all the people suffering from cancer, Hogan said, the pope looked at him, smiled and then put his hand on the governor’s head.
“He mumbled a prayer in I guess either Spanish or Latin; I’m not sure. I was taken by the moment,” Hogan said.
The pope made the sign of the cross on Hogan’s forehead, then gave the governor and first lady rosary beads that were blessed in the Vatican.
Later that day, Hogan sat in for President Barack Obama on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews to say goodbye to Pope Francis before he left for New York City. Hogan said he shook the pope’s hand, and Pope Francis told the governor, “I pray for you.”
“Then he kind of grabbed me by the shoulders to repeat it again, as if to say ‘I’m not kidding. I’m not joking around. I’m serious about it. I am not just saying this to everybody,’ he’s like, he repeated it again ‘I pray for you,’” Hogan said.
Hogan called his interactions with the pontiff both moving and amazing.