Pope Francis to honour war dead on All Souls' Day

 Pontiff to visit American military cemetery in Nettuno and Ardeatine Caves in Rome

Pope Francis will pay homage to war victims during a visit to the American military cemetery in Nettuno, south of Rome, on the feast of All Souls' Day on 2 November.

There the pontiff will celebrate Mass for all war dead, at 15.15, marking the annual Catholic tradition of mourning the dearly departed. This is a new departure for Pope Francis, who normally says Mass for All Souls' in Roman cemeteries.

Later that afternoon the pontiff will visit the Fosse Ardeatine to pray for the 335 victims killed on the site by the then occupying Nazi forces in 1944. The mass killing was in retaliation to a partisan attack on a column of marching German policemen on Via Rasella, near Piazza Barberini in central Rome.

On the feast of All Souls' in 2013 the newly-elected Pope Francis visited the capital's vast Verano cemetery, restoring a tradition begun by his predecessor St John Paul II but which hadn't taken place in 20 years. In 2016, for the first time, Francis celebrated Mass for the Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed in Rome's Prima Porta cemetery.