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Pope to the mafia, 'Please, repent!'

During prayer vigil for victims, Francis urges criminals to stop

21 March, 19:21
Pope to the mafia, 'Please, repent!' (ANSA) - Rome, March 21 - Pope Francis urged mafia members to repent during a prayer vigil for families of victims of organized crime Friday. "Please, change your lives," urged the pope, addressing his comments to men and women in the mafia. "Repent, stop doing evil". The Friday vigil comes before a national memorial day commemorating mafia victims.

It also comes after a recent spate of violence that included the murder of a three-year-old boy in an indiscriminate revenge hit by a mafia clan on a Puglia motorway Monday night.

Before the Puglia hit, the most recent and most shocking child murder was committed in January by Calabria's 'Ndrangheta, now considered the most powerful and brutal mafia.

The charred remains of tiny toddler Nicola Campolongo, nicknamed Coco, were discovered in a burned-out car in the Calabrian town of Cassano allo Ionio on January 19.

Police said three-year-old Coco was shot in the head along with his grandfather, Giuseppe Iannicelli, and his grandfather's 27-year-old companion, in an apparent Mob hit over a drug debt.