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Nepal Catholics celebrate mass to remember slain royal family

Nepal's Catholic community has held a memorial mass in Kathmandu for the country's murdered royal family, marking the end of a 13-day Hindu mourning period.

Many Catholic schools were also closed on this occasion.

Crown Prince Dipendra shot 14 members of the royal family following a royal dinner earlier this month, killing ten people including his parents, King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya.

The memorial Mass was celebrated by Monsignor Anthony Sharma SJ, apostolic prefect of Nepal, who spoke of King Birendra's "special love for us Catholics" and his good relations with Pope John Paul II.

Addressing the congregation, Agatha Thapa, a lay activist, said that the late Nepalese king and queen were "against religious fundamentalism and stood for interreligious peace." She also spoke of King Birenda's initiative to establish the Religion and Peace Academy Nepal, an interreligious forum in which Catholics participate.