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France Bids Farewell to Advocate For Homeless


Top French officials, including President Jacques Chirac, gathered in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris Friday for the funeral of Abbé Pierre, a Roman Catholic priest known for campaigning for the homeless.

The priest, who died Monday at the age of 94, won the admiration of his countrymen for his efforts to set up a chain of hostels for the homeless, Emmaus, in France, a movement that spread to nearly 40 countries.

In his eulogy, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of the priest's hometown, Lyon, thanked Abbé Pierre for serving as an example to others. He noted that the priest not only defended the poor but also lived as a poor man.

Born Henri-Antoine Groues, he served as a Resistance fighter in World War II, and later a member of parliament.

He was buried in a simple grave in the cemetery in the northwestern French village of Esteville.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.