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Pope Francis Urges Compassion as he Wraps Up His Visit to Central Europe

Pope Francis walks with his pastoral staff as he arrives to celebrate a Mass in the esplanade of the National Shrine in Sastin, Slovakia, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. Pope Francis celebrates an open air Mass in Sastin, the site of an annual pilgrimage each September 15 to venerate Slovakia's patron, Our Lady of Sorrows. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Pope Francis arrives to celebrate a Mass in the esplanade of the National Shrine in Sastin, Slovakia, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. Pope Francis celebrates an open air Mass in Sastin, the site of an annual pilgrimage each September 15 to venerate Slovakia’s patron, Our Lady of Sorrows. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

SASTIN, Slovakia (AP) — Pope Francis has urged Slovakians look out for the neediest among them as he wraps up a four-day pilgrimage to the central European country.

Cheering, maskless crowds lined Francis’ motorcade route to the national shrine at Sastin. They were rewarded with a slow-moving pope mobile jaunt and a smiling, waving Francis.

Organizers said 60,000 people attended the Mass, the biggest crowd at any event during the pope’s four-day pilgrimage to Slovakia. They showed proof of COVID-19 vaccination to receive a barcode that gave them entrance. A few thousand non-vaccinated pilgrims were allowed in with proof of a negative test or having been cured of the virus.

The Mass was Francis’ only big event today before he returns to Rome after a four-day pilgrimage to Hungary and Slovakia.

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