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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis blesses the candle processed through World War I cemeteries


World War I left a painful wound for Europe. For example, in northern Italy, more than 80,000 soldiers died in combat. 

They are buried in four cemeteries. During the centenary anniversary of this terrible conflict, this group, Candle of Peace, led a symbolic procession. They carried this candle through four cemeteries and finished their pilgrimage before the pope, in Rome.

GIUSEPPE PONZA
President, Committee Candle of Peace

“It is very emotional to be able to finish our pilgrimage here, after traveling 1,000 or 2,000 miles through all these places to pay our respects to these heroes.” FLASH. “It has been a light for all of us, including the young. This is because we want it to be a symbol of peace for our young people.”

These bearers of this symbolic initiative belong to the “Alpine Association of Vicenza.” The organization includes war veterans and soldiers of the Italian army's mountain military corps.

Pope Francis personally greeted and blessed their candle. In the past, the pope has visited various military cemeteries. 

VIRGINIO ZONTA
Committee, “Candle of Peace”

“The rector for our shrine, where this lamp is usually located, explained the initiative to the pope. He listened attentively.”

One of the cemeteries Pope Francis visited was the Sacrarium Redipuglia, where more than 50,000 people are buried. It was in 2014 to mark 100 years since the the beginning of the First World War.