Pope prays, talks to survivors at Ground Zero

April 21st, 2008 - 12:48 am ICT by admin  

New York, April 20 (DPA) Pope Benedict XVI Sunday prayed at Ground Zero with survivors of the 2001 terrorist attacks that took 3,000 lives, and asked for god’s intercession in the hate which drove the hijackers to kill so many. Dressed in a plain white robe, Benedict knelt at a small altar on a yellow carpet at Ground Zero and prayed silently for several minutes before lighting a single candle.

The brief ceremony came on the sixth and last day of the pontiff’s tour of the US, where his quest for reconciliation over the child sex abuse scandals within the church have dominated his sojourn.

He is to depart for Rome Sunday evening after holding Mass for tens of thousands at storied Yankee stadium.

About two dozen family members of those who died and actual survivors of the attack by two hijacked passenger planes that brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Center were on hand for the subdued ceremony.

Benedict struggled to light the candle in the misty, windy weather; then offered a spoken prayer asking for god’s support for “people of many different faiths and traditions” who gathered at the “scene of incredible violence and pain”.

He asked for god to “give eternal light and peace to all who died here” and at two other attack sites - the Pentagon in Washington DC and the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where a fourth plane crashed when a handful of passengers struggled to regain control.

Afterwards, the pope greeted personally each of the family members or survivors as he listened to their connections to the tragedy.

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