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Pope Francis to mark 100th anniversary of beginning of World War I

Catholic World News - June 09, 2014

Addressing 50,000 members of Italy’s national military police gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis announced that he would travel to Italy’s World War I War Memorial in Fogliano Redipuglia on September 13 to commemorate the centenary of the war’s beginning and to pray for the victims of all wars.

Pope Francis told the members of the Carabinieri that World War I was “an enormous tragedy about which I heard many painful stories from my grandfather, who fought in the Battle of the Piave [River].”

The Pontiff made the announcement at the conclusion of his June 6 address, in which he told the military police that their “vocation is service” is manifest in “the protection of individuals and their surroundings, in action for security, the respect for the rules for civil co-existence and the common good; it is a concrete and constant commitment to the defense of the rights and duties of individuals and communities.”

“The maintenance of public order and personal safety is an increasingly current issue in a dynamic, open society committed to the protection of civil rights and liberties, such as Italy, where you serve,” he continued, as the recalled that the Carabinieri also serve abroad as “peacemakers, to ensure security, respect for human dignity and the defense of human rights in countries racked by conflicts and tensions of every type.”

The Pope also urged the members of the military police to turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially in moments of “tiredness and difficulty,” and to recall the example of the Servant of God Salvo d’Acquisto (1920-1943), who “offered his young existence to save the lives of innocent people from Nazi brutality.”

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