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Contributor Heidi Schlumpf

Francis to baptize father of Korean ferryboat victim

Pope Francis reportedly agreed to baptize the father of one the students killed in South Korea's ferry disaster as he met with victims' relatives before a mass in the city of Daejeon today.

"At the end of the meeting, the father of a boy killed in the accident asked to be baptized," the pope's spokesman Father Federico Lombardi reportedly told reporters.

"The pope accepted," Lombardi said, adding that the ceremony would be conducted Saturday at the Vatican embassy in Seoul.

"It is highly symbolic that the Pope can baptise an adult Korean in a country that registers around 100,000 catholic baptisms a year," he added.

The Sewol ferry capsized on April 16 off South Korea's southern coast, with the loss of 300 lives, most of them high school students on an organized trip.

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