World

Pope greets relatives of 2 Britons slain by Islamic State group, urges interfaith efforts

  • Mike Haines, center, brother of David Haines, the British aid worker who was killed in Syria last year by the Islamic State group, and Barbara Henning, left, wife of murdered Islamic State hostage aid worker Alan Henning, arrive in St. Peter's Square to attend Pope Francis general audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

    Mike Haines, center, brother of David Haines, the British aid worker who was killed in Syria last year by the Islamic State group, and Barbara Henning, left, wife of murdered Islamic State hostage aid worker Alan Henning, arrive in St. Peter's Square to attend Pope Francis general audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis greets Barbara Henning, right, as Michael Haines, second from right, looks at them, during the pontiff's weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 25, 2015. Relatives of two British hostages killed by the Islamic State group have met with Pope Francis as part of efforts to unite people of different faiths to oppose religious extremism. Michael Haines, whose brother David was killed in September, 2014, and Barbara Henning, whose husband Alan was killed the following month, were brought up to greet Francis on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica after his rain-soaked general audience Wednesday. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, Pool)

    Pope Francis greets Barbara Henning, right, as Michael Haines, second from right, looks at them, during the pontiff's weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 25, 2015. Relatives of two British hostages killed by the Islamic State group have met with Pope Francis as part of efforts to unite people of different faiths to oppose religious extremism. Michael Haines, whose brother David was killed in September, 2014, and Barbara Henning, whose husband Alan was killed the following month, were brought up to greet Francis on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica after his rain-soaked general audience Wednesday. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis greets Michael Haines as Barbara Henning, right, stands behind him, during the pontiff weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 25, 2015. Relatives of two British hostages killed by the Islamic State group have met with Pope Francis as part of efforts to unite people of different faiths to oppose religious extremism. Michael Haines, whose brother David was killed in September, 2014, and Barbara Henning, whose husband Alan was killed the following month, were brought up to greet Francis on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica after his rain-soaked general audience Wednesday. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, Pool)

    Pope Francis greets Michael Haines as Barbara Henning, right, stands behind him, during the pontiff weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 25, 2015. Relatives of two British hostages killed by the Islamic State group have met with Pope Francis as part of efforts to unite people of different faiths to oppose religious extremism. Michael Haines, whose brother David was killed in September, 2014, and Barbara Henning, whose husband Alan was killed the following month, were brought up to greet Francis on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica after his rain-soaked general audience Wednesday. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

Relatives of two British hostages killed by the Islamic State group have met Pope Francis as part of efforts to unite people of different faiths to oppose religious extremism.

Michael Haines, whose brother David was killed in September, and Barbara Henning, whose husband Alan was killed the following month, were brought up to greet Francis on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica after his rain-soaked general audience Wednesday.

Usually such access is reserved for visiting prelates.

Michael Haines said the moment "took my breath away." In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, he said the pope "said he was going to pray for me to continue the work that we're doing on unity and tolerance and bringing our communities together."