Soldier's Family Gets Papal Condolences

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 23, 2005 ( John Paul II sent a message of sympathy upon learning of the death of an Italian soldier who was on a peace mission in Iraq, reported the Holy See.

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Sergeant Simone Cola, 31, married and father of an 8-month-old daughter, died Friday when his aircraft drew gunfire. He was on a patrol along the Euphrates River, south of Nasiriyah.

In a telegram sent to Bishop Salvatore Boccaccio of the Frosinone-Veroli-Ferentino Diocese on behalf of the Pope, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano expressed the Holy Father’s “deepest sympathy” to the parents and relatives of the soldier, a tragedy that has affected “the whole country.”

The Pope assures the bereaved of his prayers for the “young victim” who died “fulfilling his peace mission” and invoked “heavenly consolation” for his wife Alessandra and his daughter Giorgia.

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