Muslim family of 23 plays for Pope Francis in Kazakhstan

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Muslim family of 23 plays for Pope Francis in KazakhstanAs Pope Francis arrived to meet with clergy, he was greeted by a family of 21 children playing traditional Kazakh music, who told Vatican News that all faiths are united despite different beliefs.

A Muslim family of 21 children - 18 of whom are adopted - greeted Pope Francis with live music at the Catholic Cathedral of the Mother of God of Perpetual Help in Nur-Sultan, prior to his meeting with the Church's ministers in Kazakhstan.

Native to the country, the children's parents explained that the reason for their large family is that there are many orphans in the world.

The mother described to Vatican News the tears she sheds each time she sees and meets an orphaned child, explaining that she often goes to visit an orphanage.

The first time she visited orphaned children, she said, she returned home and adopted three of them.

From then on, she would frequently visit and bring home more children, hold them in her arms, happy to watch them grow, she said.

Being parents to so many children is not difficult at all, according to these Kazakh parents, because the older children always help out.

They say their children are generous, the older ones take care of the younger, and everyone takes care of each other. "We are all happy," they add.

Joy of meeting the Pope

"We were very pleased to play for the Pope," say the parents. "We travelled far and the encounter gave us much happiness because we were able to meet the Pope in person."

They describe the way in which their heart beat faster when they saw him, and how lucky they feel, especially for their children, to have had such an opportunity.

"It has been a great joy for the whole family," they add.

We are all believers

Finally, the family noted that although they are not Catholic, but Muslim, they travelled this far because "we are all believers and we all believe in the same God."

They came out of respect for all religions, said the family, noting that they have a Catholic friend with whom they often attend church events. And in the Church, they too feel at home.

Francesca Merlo & Deborah Castellano Lubov
Source: vaticannews.va