Pope Sends Condolences for Victims of Gas

Explosion in Belgium

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 30, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II sent a message of condolence and assured his prayers for the victims of a gas explosion in the industrial area of Ghislenghien, in southern Belgium.

In a telegram sent by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano to Archbishop Karl Josef Rauber, papal nuncio in Belgium, the Holy Father said that he «joins in prayer the persons affected by this tragedy.»

Authorities reported that at least 10 people died and some 200 were injured today as a result of the explosion of a gas pipe.

In his message, the Pope said that he «commended the deceased to the mercy of God so that he would receive them in his peace.» The Holy Father also «prays for the numerous wounded and their families, so that they will be surrounded by help and consolation.»

The Pontiff «encouraged the rescuers and the various health services in the important mission to receive and treat the wounded and assist the families and inhabitants of the region.»

Lastly, the Bishop of Rome «prays that the Lord will make all feel his closeness and grants the wounded, their families, and all those affected by this catastrophe his apostolic blessing.»

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