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Pope: Reflections on mercy may be over, but compassion must live on


  • A newly married woman wearing her wedding dress kisses Pope Francis during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Nov. 30. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • Pope Francis greets a boy while meeting the disabled during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Nov. 30. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • Pope Francis leads his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Nov. 30. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • Pope Francis greets a man while meeting the disabled during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Nov. 30. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • Pope Francis touches a rosary during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Nov. 30. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • A boy holds an image of Mary as Pope Francis leads his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Nov. 30. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Year of Mercy and its series of papal reflections may be over, but compassion and acts of mercy must continue and become a part of everyone's daily lives, Pope Francis said.

"Let us commit ourselves to praying for each other so that the corporal and spiritual works of mercy increasingly become our way of life," he said Nov. 30 during his general audience in the Vatican's Paul VI hall.

Because the day also marked the feast of St. Andrew, brother of St. Peter and founder of the church in Constantinople, Pope Francis gave special greetings to his "dear brother," Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

Pope Francis, the bishop of Rome and successor of Peter, said he was sending "a big embrace" to the patriarch and "this cousin church."

The Vatican released a letter from the pope to the patriarch, which praised the way Catholics and Orthodox have begun "to recognize one another as brothers and sisters and to value each other's gifts, and together have proclaimed the Gospel, served humanity and the cause of peace, promoted the dignity of the human being and the inestimable value of the family, and cared for those most in need, as well as creation, our common home."

In his main audience talk, the pope ended his yearlong series of talks on mercy with a reflection on the corporal work of burying the dead and the spiritual works of praying for the living and dead.

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