(SFCHRONICLE) — VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis opened solemn Holy Week services with Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square, stressing humility and remembering the dead in the Germanwings crash.
At the end of Mass outside St. Peter's Basilica for some 70,000 faithful, Francis prayed for those who died in Tuesday's crash in the French Alps, noting there was a group of German schoolchildren aboard the aircraft. The disaster killed 150 people, including the co-pilot who investigators say deliberately slammed the plane into the mountain.
Francis clutched a palm frond during the traditional procession at the service's start. In keeping with the simple tone of his two-year-old papacy, Francis leaned on a plain wooden pastoral staff instead of a traditionally more ornate one as he stood under a red canopy on the basilica steps.
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