ASSISI, Italy (AP) - Pope Francis has met with war refugees and religious figures in Assisi, the hometown of St. Francis, for a day of prayers for peace and pleas for more attention to victims of conflicts worldwide.
Speaking about victims of war, Pope Francis lamented in a prayer service in St. Francis Basilica that they often "encounter the deafening silence of indifference, the selfishness of those annoyed at being pestered, the coldness of those who silence their cry for help."
Christians, including the pope, prayed in the basilica, while those from other religions, including Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and others, prayed elsewhere in the town. For centuries, Assisi has drawn admirers of the saint who abandoned family wealth for an austere existence of preaching tolerance.
St. John Paul II established the inter-religious prayer gathering in Assisi in 1986.
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