Pope to pray for Sep 11 victims at Ground ZeroApril 20th, 2008 - 8:08 am ICT by admin
New York, April 20 (DPA) Pope Benedict XVI will pray Sunday at the site of the World Trade Centre towers destroyed by the 2001 terrorist attacks as part of his pilgrimage of peace to the US. Later in the day he will conduct Mass in front of thousands at Yankee Stadium before concluding his historic six-day visit.
The early Sunday visit to Ground Zero marks another dramatic gesture by the 81-year-old pontiff, who had this week spoken strongly against child sexual abuse committed by some of the US clergy and called for purification and healing of the Catholic Church.
But in his visit to Ground Zero, Benedict will pray for the 3,000 people who died in the attacks when terrorist-hijacked commercial planes crashed into the two World Trade Centre towers, the Pentagon in Washington and a field in Pennsylvania Sep 11, 2001.
Benedict will pray for the dead and for the conversion of the killers, according to the text of the prayer made public by the Vatican last week, before his arrival in Washington April 15.
The Mass at Yankee Stadium will bring together worshippers from around the United States. The stadium seats more than 50,000 people.
Benedict earlier this week celebrated mass in Washington’s Nationals Park and visited the White House before coming to New York to deliver a major speech to the United Nations General Assembly, where all 192 nations on Earth are represented.
He urged the world organization to retain its mission as a “moral centre” of the world and to uphold human rights everywhere.
On Saturday, during a mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Benedict renewed his appeal for ending child sexual abuse, which had stained and deeply hurt the Catholic Church.
Benedict spoke against that scourge at length during his stay in Washington, apologizing to the victims and for the first time meeting with a small group of them.
About 20,000 student seminarians at the St Joseph Seminary greeted the pope late Saturday in Yonkers, north of New York City. They gave him perhaps the longest applause during the six-day visit as Benedict appealed to youths to become priests or nuns at a time that the vocation was declining in the Catholic Church.