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A Day of Prayer for Nelson Mandela

An unidentified priest lights candles at a Apostolic church as they celebrate the life of former president Nelson Mandela near his home in Qunu, South Africa, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. (AP)

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(AURN) --  Sunday was a national day of prayer for the beloved former South African president and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela.  It was marked by the same bittersweet mix of grief and celebration that's been witnessed since his death last Thursday.

Meantime, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama departed Washington for Soweto, South Africa this morning to attend a national memorial for Mandela tomorrow.  Former President George Bush and his wife, former first lady Laura Bush accompanied the Obamas on Air Force One. 

An official state funeral service for Mandela will be held on Saturday.

Mandela Day of PrayerNelson Mandela African National Congress

Nelson Mandela Day of PrayerNelson Mandela Day of Prayer (Photos Coutesy AP.  TL:Young members of the choir attend a morning mass in memory of Nelson Mandela at the Regina Mundi church. TR:Members of the African National Congress (ANC) sing to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela outside his old house in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa.  BL: People hold hands as Reverend Ndumiso Gawe from the Yeshua Ministries leads them in prayer outside the home of former president Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa.  BR: People hold burning candles beside tributes laid outside the home of former president Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa.)

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