"I see in your eyes the light of goodness and innocence."
These were the words of the Pope to a little girl who was dying of cancer.
The mother of 10-year-old Paolina Libraro had written to Pope Francis earlier this year asking him to pray for and bless her daughter, and enclosing some photographs.
He invited the young girl to the Vatican for an audience in October. But in the end, she was too ill to travel and died soon afterwards.
The moving letter that Pope Francis sent to Paolina was instead read out loud at her funeral.
It has now been published by the website Il Faro di Roma, or The Lighthouse of Rome.
Paolina, whose funeral mass was held at St Leopold Mandic church in her home town of Massafra in Taranto province in south-east Italy, died on 22 November.
The parish priest, Father Michele Quaranta, read out the inspirational words of the Pope.
The Pope wrote: "Dear Paolina, your photos are on my desk. They are really special because in your eyes I see the light of goodness and innocence."
He urged her to read the letter with her mother. "The kiss that she will now give you will be the kiss of the Pope."
He said he was joining his hands to her and all those praying for her, which he said made a prayer chain that was long enough to reach up to heaven itself.
"But remember that the first link in this chain is you, because you have Jesus in your heart! Remember it!"
He said he was talking to Jesus about her and also about her mother and father, in need of such great help and comfort to face the difficult steps ahead. "You will certainly be very good at suggesting to Jesus what to do for them!" he added.
He also asked her to intercede with Jesus in heaven on his own behalf: "Remember, please, to tell him what to do for me, while I remember what to do for you. I will tightly embrace and bless you with all my heart, with your parents and to your loved ones. Francis."