MEXICO CITY (WABC) -- The ashes of 245 Mexican migrants who died of COVID-19 in New York have arrived back into their home nation.
A Mexican Air Force plane carrying the remains arrived at near midnight Saturday in what the Foreign Relations Department called an "unprecedented" effort.
The urns were taken from the plane and placed on a table adorned with white flowers for a brief ceremony.
"It's the way Mexico expresses its gratitude for so much that our migrants have contributed from abroad, and of course in addition to giving consolation to their families, who can give them a final goodbye in their land," said Roberto Velasco, the Foreign Relations Department's director-general for North America.
Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, celebrated a Mass for the coronavirus victims on Saturday at St. Patrick's Cathedral, blessing the ashes.
VIDEO: Prayer service held for immigrants who died from COVID
The Mexican government says more than 1,500 Mexican migrants have died of COVID-19 in the United States, about half of them in New York.
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