Pope Celebrates All Souls at Rome’s French Military Cemetery

On the Feast of All Souls, Pope Francis visited Rome’s French military cemetery. He prayed for the faithful departed.

Italy – Rome (02/11/2021 11:15 AM, Gaudium Press) Today at 11 am local time, Pope Francis celebrated a Mass in Rome’s French cemetery. Some French priests were able to concelebrate. Students from the French seminary in Rome were in charge of the altar service.

“A message of peace!”

During his Homily, Francis evoked the cruelty of war, lamenting how it “swallows up the sons of the homeland. The Pope also queried: “Do we fight enough so that there will be no more wars? So that the economies of countries do not thrive by manufacturing weapons?”

The Holy Father also said that the graves of those soldiers are “a message of peace” and that they cry out, “Peace!” And he pleaded: “stop, weapons manufacturers. Stop!”

Francis is the first Pontiff to visit the site. However, this is not the first time the Pope has been to a military cemetery. In 2014, Francis visited the Redipuglia cemetery and, in 2017, the American Neptune cemetery.

The French Military Cemetery in Rome

Set just a few kilometres away from the Italian capital, the French military cemetery of Monte Mario houses the graves of some French soldiers killed on Italian territory during World War II while fighting against fascism and the Nazis. Although Monte Mario cemetery is considered Italian territory, the location is under French sovereignty.
It is believed that about 7,000 French lost their lives on the Italian peninsula. A total of 1,888 French graves can be found in the Monte Mario cemetery.

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The casualties mainly belonged to the expeditionary soldiers commanded by General Alphonse Juin. He perished during the famous battle of Monte Cassino in 1944.

The cemetery holds wings set apart by creed. Catholic graves depict a Cross, while Muslim graves display the crescent symbol. Stars of David mark the tombs where Jewish soldiers are buried. Atheists are also acknowledged, whose tombstones bear no emblem. (FM)

Compiled by Gustavo Kralj

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