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Pope Francis prays for homeless man who died near St Peter's

Pontiff saddened by death of German homeless man in the shadow of St Peter's Basilica.

Pope Francis has prayed for Burkhard Scheffler, a 61-year old homeless man, who died on Thursday night near the colonnade of St Peter's Square.

Scheffler, orginally from Germany, lived on Rome's streets for decades and was assisted by church charities, reports Vatican News.

Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See press office, told reporters: "Unfortunately, the past few nights of cold and rain contributed to the fragile nature of his condition, already affected by homelessness."

Bruni said the pontiff learned of Scheffler's death "with sorrow" and invites the faithful to join him in praying for "all those who are forced to live without a home, in Rome and around the world".

The Vatican provides a range of free services to Rome's homeless people around St Peter's, including laundry and showering facilities as well as medical care.

Photo credit: Petr Svoboda / Shutterstock.com.

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