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Pope beatifies eight on Sunday

In a Mass that included a special prayer for peace, Pope John Paul beatified eight Catholics on Sunday, including two considered martyrs for their suffering under communism.

Addressing some 20,000 pilgrims in sun-baked St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father said the eight had dedicated their lives "for the glory of God and the good of their brothers."

A prayer was dedicated to "the world shaken by violence" and marked by divisions and injustices that "foment hate and terrorism".

Those honoured Sunday included two priests born in what was then Czechoslovakia, Bishop Pavol Peter Gojdic and the Fr Metod Dominik Trcka. They both died in communist-era prisons.

Also honoured were a 16th century Portuguese bishop, Bartolomeu Fernandes dos Martires; Maria Pilar Izquierdo Albero, the Spanish founder of a missionary order; and four Italians, Sister Gaetana Sterni, the Rev. Paolo Manna, the Rev. Luigi Tezza and Bishop Giovanni Antonio Farina.