Pope Offers Prayers for Indonesian Quake Victims

Encourages Aid Workers to Persevere

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 2, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is offering his prayers for earthquake victims in Indonesia, and is encouraging aid workers in their efforts to help the survivors.

The Pope affirmed this in a telegram sent on his behalf by his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to the apostolic nuncio of Indonesia, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli.

The telegram stated, «Deeply saddened to learn of the recent devastating earthquakes affecting Indonesia, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI prays for the victims and their grieving families, invoking eternal rest upon the deceased and divine strength and consolation on all who are suffering.»

On Wednesday, a 7.6-magnitude quake hit the country close to its Sumatra island, claiming some 470 lives at last count.

Hundreds of people were injured, and thousands are still missing or trapped in collapsed buildings, the death count unknown.

Thursday morning, a second earthquake of 6.8-magnitude hit the Jambi province, in the center of the same island.

Although there are no reports of deaths from this second temblor, the two are coming only weeks after a Sept. 2 quake claimed 82 lives on the Indonesian island of Java.

In the telegram, the Holy Father encouraged the rescue workers and «all involved in providing emergency assistance to the victims of this disaster to persevere in their efforts to bring relief, comfort and support.»

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