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Homeless man who lived near St. Peter’s gets Vatican burial

February 26, 2015

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A homeless man who lived on the streets around St. Peter’s Square for years has been buried in a cemetery inside Vatican City.

Vatican Radio said Thursday that Willy Herteleer was buried in the Teutonic Cemetery on Jan. 9, after officials discovered he had died a month earlier in the nearby Holy Spirit hospital. No one had ever claimed his body.

The Rev. Bruno Silvestrini, the pastor of the Sant’Anna parish inside the Vatican, said for some 25 years Herteleer attended the daily 7 a.m. Mass. He said he was deeply faithful.

Herteleer’s burial, paid for by a German family, was first reported by Rome daily Il Messaggero.

Pope Francis has increased the Vatican’s outreach to the homeless, providing them with shower facilities, as well as sleeping bags and umbrellas.

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