Pope Francis announced that on 2 November, All Souls Day, he will travel to the French War Cemetery in Rome to celebrate Holy Mass.
Speaking after the recitation of the Angelus on Monday, All Saints Day, he said it will be an occasion to join, spiritually, with people across the world, “who in these days go to pray on the tombs of their loved ones.”
He also noted that the celebration in a War Cemetery will provide the occasion to pray, in particular for “all victims of war and violence.”
There are almost 1900 graves in the French Military Cemetery in Rome. Most of them are the resting places of Moroccan and Algerian soldiers who gave their lives during the Second World War. A great number of the grave markers bear a Muslim crescent while some have crosses. They all bear the inscription “Mort pour la France”.
The cemetery was built by the Italian government to pay tribute to the French troops who fought in the years between 1943 and 1944 against the Nazis. Every year, on 11 November, Remembrance Day, it hosts a commemorative ceremony for all the victims of past and current wars.
Last year, the Pope presided at Holy Mass for the deceased on 2 November in the Vatican’s Teutonic Cemetery. Due to the health emergency, it was a strictly private ceremony without the participation of the faithful.