Pope Francis, center, shakes hands with a representatives of family members of victims of the Sewol ferry tragedy. Pic: AP.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Pope Francis is wrapping up his first visit to Asia with a Mass for peace and reconciliation in Seoul’s cathedral attended by the South Korean president and a handful of North Korean defectors.

Organizers of the papal trip had invited a delegation from the North to attend Monday’s Mass, but Pyongyang authorities declined. Organizers said there would be representation from the North in the form of defectors, former abductees and about 30 priests and nuns who received their religious training in the North but moved south before the war.

During the Mass, Seoul’s archbishop was to dedicate a “crown of thorns” to the pope made from barbed wire taken from the demilitarized zone. “That they may be one” reads the inscription.

 

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