In the grand Clementine Hall, in the heart of the Apostolic Palace, an elderly lady shakes hands with Pope Francis. Dressed in a sharp suit and an elegant hat, she looks her best as she stands next to her comedian son, Manu Payet. On this Friday morning, she joined the hundred comedians and actors whom the pope wanted to address. The French actor, sporting a tie for the occasion, and his mother both hand over a postcard from La Réunion, their native island.

As they exit, the mother stands proudly by her son, remaining silent as he speaks to a few journalists. He mentions that he came primarily for her, after bringing her from La Réunion. He admits that he was so focused on the meeting between the pope and his mother that he forgot what he wanted to say to Pope Francis. “I had the opportunity to give the gift that many sons would love to give their mothers,” he says emotionally before they go for a “pontiff coffee” nearby.

It is not uncommon for such scenes to unfold at the Vatican, where dozens of participants attend papal audiences every day. Meeting with associations, parish groups, religious congregations, or professional collectives is an essential activity for the pope. After Pope Francis’s speech, the ritual is always the same: the guests line up to greet him one by one. Some bring their children, creating a memorable experience for them. Others bring their parents, some of whom have dreamed of meeting the pope for years. The pope always pays special attention to his companions, showing sensitivity to both children and the elderly. This emphasizes the importance of intergenerational dialogue and the value of every individual, regardless of age.