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Benedict XVI given white helmet, prays for release of Colombian hostages

.- At the conclusion of this week’s General Audience, two representatives of a motorcycle caravan currently passing through Europe gave Pope Benedict XVI a white helmet as a symbol of their desire to see the hostages held by rebels in Colombia set free.

Colombian reporter Herbin Hoyos and Jenny Mendieta, whose father, General Luis Mendieta, has been held hostage by Colombia rebels for 11 years, made the symbolic gesture to the Holy Father. As they handed him the helmet, a group of Colombian pilgrims shouted, “Free the kidnapped!”

Upon receiving the helmet, Pope Benedict XVI said, “We are going to pray much for them.  We are going to pray for their release.”

The group of motorcyclists has traveled across Spain, France and Italy to call attention to the plight of hostages in Colombia.  They were accompanied at the Wednesday audience by two bishops and several former hostages.

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