VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has hailed St. Pope John Paul II's role in the fall of the Berlin Wall and urged people to build bridges by opening hearts.

Francis marked the 25th anniversary Sunday of the destruction of the wall symbolizing the Cold War by appealing to all those of good will to foster a "culture of coming together" to bring down all barriers still dividing the world.

Greeting people in St. Peter's Square, he paid tribute to those who worked for the Berlin Wall's end, including those paying with their lives. John Paul II's championing of the Solidarity union in his native Poland is credited with helping bring the demise of Soviet bloc communism. Francis prayed that "never again may innocent persons be persecuted or killed for their belief or religion."