Pope Francis has given a joyride in his popemobile to eight migrant children who recently arrived in Italy from Libya.

The pope picked up the children, who hail from Syria, Nigeria, and Congo, at the start of his weekly general audience Wednesday, May 15, and zoomed around St. Peter’s Square with them in the backseat. Some waved, others gave a thumbs up before bidding Francis goodbye with hugs and a selfie.

The Vatican said some of the children had arrived in Italy on a migrant boat a few months ago, while others arrived April 29 with their families via a humanitarian corridor.

Pope Francis arrives on his popemobile for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday May 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis arrives on his popemobile for his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, on May 15, 2019. (Andrew Medichini/AP Photo)

Francis has clashed with Italy’s hard-line government about the need to welcome and integrate migrants. Francis returned home from a 2016 trip to Greece with a dozen Syrians on his plane.

Pope Francis arrives on his popemobile for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday May 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis arrives on his popemobile for his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, on May 15, 2019. (Andrew Medichini/AP Photo)
Pope Francis is given a child to bless as he is driven through the crowd during his weekly general audience in St. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis is given a child to bless as he is driven through the crowd during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican. (Andrew Medichini/AP Photo)

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