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Francis will celebrate All Souls Day Mass at an American cemetery south of Rome


Stephen Sommerhalter | CC BY 3.0

I.Media - published on 10/10/17

Contains the graves of nearly 8,000 American soldiers killed in Italy during World War II.

Pope Francis will celebrate a Mass for All Souls Day this November 2 at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial in the town of Nettuno, an hour’s drive south of Rome. The Mass will be offered for “all those who have died in war,” the Holy See announced.

This cemetery contains the graves of nearly 8,000 American soldiers killed in Italy during World War II.

In July 1943, more than 100,000 Allied soldiers, many of them Americans, disembarked on the shores of Sicily; the city of Rome was taken in June of 1944, but the war in Italy would continue until May of 1945. The cemetery in Nettuno was declared a permanent war memorial at the end of the Second World War.

Upon returning to the Vatican, the pontiff will go to the memorial at the Fosse Ardeatine, on the outskirts of Rome, the site of one of the most significant massacres of civilians during the Second World War in Italy. On March 24, 1944, 335 civilians—including 75 Jews—were shot by Nazi occupation forces in retaliation for a bomb attack by Partisan resistance fighters against German soldiers in Rome. Ten civilians were killed for every German soldier who died in the attack.

During his visit to the American cemetery, Pope Francis may be accompanied by the new American ambassador to the Holy See, Callista Gingrich. Her nomination was approved by the Senate on October 5.

In 2013, 2014, and 2015, the pope celebrated All Souls Day at the large Roman cemetery of Campo Verano. In 2016, the pontiff chose the cemetery of Prima Porta, to the north of the Italian capital.

AP for I.Media

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