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Sunday 20 August 2017

Pope Francis prays for crash victims

Pope Francis greets a baby at the end of the Palm Sunday mass at Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican March 29, 2015
Pope Francis greets a baby at the end of the Palm Sunday mass at Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican March 29, 2015

Pope Francis has remembered those killed in the Germanwings crash as he opened solemn Holy Week services with Palm Sunday mass in St Peter's Square.

At the end of mass for some 70,000 faithful outside St Peter's Basilica, Francis (inset) prayed for those who died in Tuesday's crash in the French Alps, noting that there was a group of German schoolchildren on the aircraft.

The disaster killed 150 people, including the co-pilot who investigators say deliberately crashed the plane into the mountain.

Francis clutched a palm frond during the traditional procession at the service's start. In keeping with the simple tone of his two-year-old papacy, he leaned on a plain wooden pastoral staff instead of a traditionally more ornate one as he stood under a red canopy on the basilica steps.

He wore bright red vestments to recall Jesus' death by crucifixion. In his homily, the Pope stressed humility, another quality that has marked his papal style.

hnews@herald.ie

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