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Pope Francis proclaims his first saints

Sunday, May 12, 2013 - 00:40

May 12 - Pope Francis canonises the first Colombian saint and the second female saint for Mexico, as well as some 800 Italians killed by Ottoman Turks in the 15th century when they refused to convert to Islam. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) Pope Francis Sunday proclaimed as saints some 800 Italians killed by Ottoman Turks in the 15th century when they refused to convert to Islam and said many Christians around the world were still being persecuted for their faith. At his first canonisation ceremony since his election on March 13, Francis also proclaimed Colombia's first saint - a nun who died in 1949, and a Mexican nun who died in 1963. The canonisations were decided by Francis's predecessor, Benedict, in a decree signed on February 11, at the same meeting with cardinals where he announced his resignation. The 800 Italians, known as Antonio Primaldo and his Companions, were killed in 1480 in the siege of Otranto, on the southeastern corner of the Italian peninsula on the Adriatic Sea by Ottoman Turks who sacked the city and killed its archbishop. The citizens were ordered to surrender and convert to Islam. When they refused, the Ottoman commanding officer, Gedik Ahmed Pasha, ordered all the men 15 or older to be executed, most by beheading. They are known in Church history as the Otranto Martyrs. The Turks were expelled by forces of the Kingdom of Naples a year after the massacre. Also canonised by Pope Francis at Sunday's service were Sister Laura Montoya y Upegui, who was born in Colombia in 1874 and founded an order of nuns to help indigenous people. She died in 1949. The third new saint was Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, of Mexico. A nun, she dedicated her life to the sick and the poor. At the end of the Mass, Francis made his first appeal as pope against abortion, saying that life must be respected from the moment of conception and throwing his weight behind an Italian group promoting legal protection for embryos.

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Pope Francis proclaims his first saints

Sunday, May 12, 2013 - 00:40