A Winnipeg boy was selected to meet Pope Francis after his question was chosen to be published in a new children's book written by the Pope.

"My number one question was, 'What did God do before the world was made?'" said Ryan K., whose parents did not want his last name used.

Ryan K

Ryan K is a Grade 4 student at St. Ignatius School. His question for the Pope was one of 30 that made it into the book 'Dear Pope Francis'. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

Ryan travelled to Rome last week with his father to meet the Pope and take part in the launch of the book. The book is called 'Dear Pope Francis', in which the Pope answers questions from 30 children.

Students at various Jesuit schools around the world were asked 'If you could ask Pope Francis one question what would it be?' 

Ryan, who is in Grade 4 at St. Ignatius School, had his question selected to be part of the book. St. Ignatius is the only Jesuit elementary school in Manitoba and Ryan is the only Canadian child to be part of the book.

"I've been wondering this question most of my life," said Ryan.

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Ryan, 9, met Pope Francis last Monday while at the Vatican to celebrate the launch of the book. (Supplied )

"Not many people can answer that question. People have their own ways of answering it, and different answers, and I think the best answer would be from the Pope," he said.

The Pope's answer, in short:

"Before doing anything else God was love, and God was loving."

Small children ask big questions

"Not only was [Ryan's] letter chosen, but it inspired the tagline of the book, 'Small children ask big questions,'" said Jeannine Pistawka, Principal at St. Ignatius School.

A member of Loyola Press, the publisher of the book, called her in December to tell her the impact Ryan's question had on the Pope.

"It was really exciting to think that one of our students,

[didn't just get] chosen but inspired the tagline, and the Pope was really thinking about his question," said Pistawka.
Jeannine Pistawka

St. Ignatius School principal, Jeannine Pistawka, says it was exciting to have one of their students chosen to be part of the book. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

Ryan's father, Sam, said he knew his son was curious and asks a lot of questions, but was surprised to hear that he was thinking so deeply.

"He's asked really big questions, and it's really touched me inside," said Sam.

Ryan said he was very nervous to meet the Pope, but when Ryan presented him a gift of maple syrup, the Pope laughed and said 'this is good'.

Ryan also gave him a book on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and a St. Ignatius School shirt.

When asked what it was like to meet the Pope, Ryan said "He's like a light in the dark... He's just so kind."

The book was released on March 1.

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Ryan travelled to Rome with his father last week in order to meet the Pope and take part in the launch of the book. (Holly Caruk/CBC)