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Pope Francis visits Auschwitz

July 29, 2016

After celebrating a private Mass in the chapel of the Archbishop of Krakow, Pope Francis traveled to Auschwitz on July 29.

“I would like to go to that place of horror without speeches, without crowds -- only the few people necessary,” he had said prior to his visit. “Alone, enter, pray. And may the Lord give me the grace to cry.”

While at Auschwitz, the Pope greeted the prime minister of Poland and 12 Holocaust survivors and prayed silently in the cell where St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe was martyred. Upon leaving the cell, he wrote in a book, “Lord, have mercy on your people! Lord, forgiveness for so much cruelty!”

Pope Francis then traveled to Auschwitz II–Birkenau, the largest of the extermination camps. After praying, he greeted 25 of the Righteous Among the Nations—persons who have been recognized by Israel for saving Jews during World War II. At the conclusion of the visit, a rabbi chanted Psalm 130 in Hebrew, and a Holocaust survivor read it in Polish.

 
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