Updated: March 23, 2014 05:56 PM GMT
Picture: Catholic News Service
Surrounded by survivors of innocent people killed by the Mafia, Pope Francis made an emotional appeal to Italian gangsters to give up their lives of crime and avoid eternal damnation."Men and women of the Mafia, please change your lives, convert, stop doing evil," the pope said at a prayer vigil March 21. "I ask on my knees and for your own good."This life you have now, it will not give you pleasure, it will not give you joy, it will not give you happiness," the pope said. "The power, the money you have now from so many dirty deals, from so many Mafia crimes, blood-stained money, blood-stained power -- you will not be able to take that with you to the other life."
Father Ciotti thanked the pope for coming, saying, "We thought we had found a father, we have also found a brother."The pope listened for about 45 minutes, head bowed and hands folded in prayer, as members of the congregation stepped up to the lectern and recited, in some cases with breaking voices, the names of people killed by the Mafia."Let us pray together to ask the strength to move ahead," the pope said, "to be not discouraged but to continue to struggle against corruption."
Source:Catholic News Service
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