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Pope wraps up Asia trip with call for Korean peace

By Nicole Winfield

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Aug. 17 2014 8:29 p.m. MDT

Pope Francis, center, is greeted by followers on his arrival at the open-air mass at Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. Pope Francis arrived in Seoul on Thursday for a five-day visit and issued a plea for peace and unity on the war-divided peninsula.

Jung Yeon-je, AP

Enlarge photo»

SEOUL, South Korea — 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.

Follow Nicole Winfield at www.twitter.com/nwinfield

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