Pope to baptise father of Sewol ferry victim

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Pope Francis agreed to baptise the father of a student killed in South Korea’s ferry disaster today.

He met victims’ relatives before a mass in the city of Daejeon, when the man made the request.

Spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters: “The pope accepted.”

The ceremony will be conducted on Saturday at the Vatican embassy in Seoul.

The Sewol ferry sank on April 16 off South Korea’s southern coast. About 300 people died, many of them high school students on an organised trip.

Francis held a private audience with eight Sewol survivors and two victims’ relatives before conducting the mass in Daejeon’s World Cup stadium – the first public event of his five-day visit.

The relatives gave the pope an album of their dead children’s photos, as well as a yellow-ribbon pin that he wore on his chest throughout the mass.

The yellow ribbon has become a memorial symbol for the ferry tragedy.

During the mass, Pope Francis offered a special prayer for the victims of what he described as “this great national disaster”.

He urged those Koreans united in grief to work together for the common good. - AFP