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Pope has tough sell on materialism in South Korea
Lee, who has been in catechism classes for two years, participated in a 21-day pilgrimage undertaken by relatives of the victims, carrying a cross in honor of the slain children. The families said they gave the cross to the pope.
The relatives also presented the pope with a tiny yellow ribbon, a symbol of support for the ferry victims. The pope took the ribbon and wore it on his robe during the Mass.
A larger-than-normal crowd of more than 10,000, according to police, on Friday joined what has become a regular rally by family members of victims of the ferry sinking.
In his final prayer, Francis offered words of comfort to survivors and families. "May this tragic event which has brought all Koreans together in grief confirm their commitment to work together in solidarity for the common good," he said.
Francis arrived in Seoul on Thursday for a five-day visit and issued a plea for peace and unity on the war-divided peninsula. North Korea fired three projectiles into the sea just before he landed and another two soon after.
On Friday, North Korean media quoted a rocket researcher as dismissing the idea that the tests had anything to do with the pope, and said the launches were conducted on the 69th anniversary of Korea's independence from Japan.
Choi reported from Seoul. Associated Press writers Foster Klug and Youkyung Lee in Seoul contributed to this report.
Follow Nicole Winfield on Twitter at twitter.com/nwinfield