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Pope Francis visits Assisi, addresses Lampedusa shipwreck tragedy

Pope Francis has made a pilgrimage to the Italian town of his namesake, Assisi. The pope said Friday was a "day of tears" to mourn those who died in the migrant shipwreck off the coast of Italy's Lampedusa island.

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Pope Francis visits Assisi

Pope Francis travelled to the central hillside town of Assisi on Friday to visit sites associated with the life of St. Francis, his namesake.

St. Francis was a 13th-century friar who renounced a wealthy, self-indulgent lifestyle to embrace a life of poverty and minister to the poor. St. Francis was famously told by God to "repair my house."

The Argentine pope became the first to adopt the name of St. Francis when he was elected in March, saying he was inspired by the saint's humility.

The pope also referred to Thursday's migrant shipwreck off the Italian island of Lampedusa where at least 130 people have drowned with hundreds more still missing.

The pope said the world "does not care about the many people fleeing slavery, hunger, fleeing in search of freedom. And how many of them die as happened yesterday! Today is a day of tears," he said.

The tragedy happened just days after refugees died off the coast of Sicily.

Francis first visited Lampedusa in July, his first trip outside Rome, and criticized what he termed the "globalization of indifference" towards the plight of asylum seekers.

During his visit, the pope also called on the church's 1.2 billion faithful to rid themselves of earthly concerns like St. Francis of Assisi.

"The church, all of us should divest ourselves of worldliness," the pope said, adding, "Worldliness is a murderer because it kills souls, kills people, kills the church."

During the visit, the pope met with disabled people being aided by Catholic charities and said that their "wounds need to be listened to and recognized."

In an address to the poor, he said, "Many of you have been stripped down by this savage world that does not give you jobs, that does not help, that does not care about children dying of hunger."

The pope was accompanied on his trip by eight cardinals with 100,000 pilgrims having also traveled to Assisi for the event.

hc/pfd (AP, AFP)

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