Touching moment: Pope Francis blesses girl in wheelchair at St. Patrick's Cathedral

NEW YORK (WABC) -- As Pope Francis arrived at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City Thursday evening, he took a minute to meet with a girl in a wheelchair.

The touching moment happened just before 7 p.m. as a prayer service was getting under way.

Stephanie Gabaud, a 17-year-old from White Plains, said being able to meet the pope was an incredible experience.

"Just to get an actual blessing from him was so amazing," said Gabaud.

Gabaud suffers from spina bifida, a rare birth defect in which a baby's spinal cord fails to develop properly. She also had the opportunity to meet Pope Benedict XVI when he was in New York City in 2008.

Click on the video player above to watch the pope bless and hug Gabaud.

Here's some reaction to that powerful moment:

Eyewitness News Anchor Sade Baderinwa spoke with the girl. Here's a photo showing the interview:

Stay with abc7NY for the latest on Pope Francis' visit to New York City.
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