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Pope sets prayers for blast victims

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star
Pope sets prayers for blast victims
Pope Francis presides the weekly general audience at Paul-VI hall in The Vatican on November 29, 2023.
AFP / Tiziana Fabi

MANILA, Philippines — Pope Francis expressed his intention to pray for the victims of Sunday’s bombing attack that occurred during a mass inside a university campus in Marawi City.

In @Pontifex, which serves as the pope’s official page on X, formerly Twitter, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church said that he is close to the people of Mindanao.

“I wish to assure my prayer for the victims of the attack that occurred this (Sunday) morning in the Philippines, where a bomb exploded during mass. I am close to the families and the people of Mindanao, who have already suffered so much,” said the pontiff from his residence,s in remarks broadcast in Saint Peter’s Square.

Four people died and 45 people were hurt during the explosion at a morning Catholic mass at the Dimaporo Gymnasium of the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City.

According to Vatican News, the pope had sent a telegram to Marawi Bishop Edwin dela Peña, saying he is “deeply saddened to be informed of the injuries and loss of life caused by the bombing.”

The message was reportedly signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who said that the pontiff had asked Dela Peña to convey his “spiritual closeness” to all those who were affected by the tragedy.?“He joins you in commending the souls of those who died to Almighty God’s loving mercy and he implores the divine gifts of healing and consolation upon the injured and bereaved,” the telegram added.

Pope Francis concluded his message with “prayers that Christ the Prince of Peace will grant to all the strength to turn from violence and overcome every evil with good,” and imparted his blessing “as a pledge of strength and consolation in the Lord.”

Meanwhile, the Marawi prelature said in a statement posted on its Facebook page that the bombing incident was both “merciless and heartbreaking.”

“The Prelature of St. Mary in Marawi strongly condemns any form of violence and terrorism. The incident that happened this morning was merciless and heartbreaking,” it said.

The prelature also requested the public to pray for the souls of those who died from the blast, as well as their families who were devastated because of the tragedy.

Meanwhile, the United States and Israel condemned the “horrific” bombing during a Catholic service at the MSU gymnasium in Marawi.

“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the horrific terrorist attack that occurred during a Catholic service,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

“We mourn those killed in the attack and our thoughts are with the injured,” he said.

The Israeli embassy in Manila condemned the “heinous act of terrorism” perpetrated at MSU.

“Our hearts go out to the victims and their bereaved families, and we extend our deepest condolences and sympathy during this difficult time. We also pray for the swift recovery of those injured,” the embassy said in a statement, expressing solidarity with the Philippine government and Filipino people in face of this “despicable” terrorist attack.

Australian Ambassador HK Yu said her country is deeply saddened by the violent attack at MSU. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims,” she said.

German Ambassador Andreas Pfafferrnoschke said “Germany supports all efforts to bring those responsible for the attack to justice.” – Pia Lee-Brago

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