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Pope Francis offered condolences for the victims of the earthquake in central Italy during his weekly general audience on Wednesday.
Pope Francis offered condolences for the victims of the earthquake in central Italy during his weekly general audience on Wednesday.Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis skipped his catechism lesson during his Wednesday general audience and instead led pilgrims in praying the rosary for the victims of Italy’s earthquake.

Holding a rosary in his right hand, Francis told the crowd that he was stunned by the devastation of the quake that struck central Italy early. He said he wanted to express his pain and solidarity with the victims.

The crowd in St. Peter’s Square recited the prayer along with the pontiff.