Pope Leads Prayer for Natural Disaster Victims

Appeals for Solution to Violence in Guinea

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 4, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is recalling in prayer all the victims of natural disasters in Asia and the Pacific, and is appealing for aid from the international community.

Today, the Pope invited those pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to join him in praying the midday Angelus for these people, as well as the victims of violence in Guinea.

He stated, “My thought turns, in this moment, to the populations of the Pacific and southeast Asia, stricken in recent days by violent natural calamities: the tsunami in the islands of Samoa and Tonga; the typhoon in the Philippines, that then hit Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia; the devastating earthquake in Indonesia.

“These catastrophes have caused grave losses of human life, numerous missing and homeless persons and enormous material damage.”

The Pontiff also turned his thoughts to “those who are suffering from the floods in Sicily, especially around Messina.”

“I invite everyone to join me in prayer for the victims and their loved ones,” he said. “I am spiritually near to those who have been displaced and to all those persons who have been tried, imploring from God the relief of their pain.”

The Holy Father appealed that “these brothers and sisters do not lack our solidarity and the support of the international community.”

Grave episode

In the context of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, which began today, he also mentioned “the conflicts that currently threaten the peace and security of the peoples of the African continent.”

Benedict XVI noted: “In recent days I have followed with apprehension the grave episodes of violence that have shaken the population of Guinea.”

On Sept. 28, some 150 were killed in Conakry stadium when soldiers fired into a crowd of people in protest about the country’s national elections.

The Pope stated, “I express my condolences to the families of the victims, I invite the parties to dialogue, to reconciliation and I am certain that no efforts will be spared to arrive at an equitable and just solution.”

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text of Angelus address: http://zenit.org/article-27043?l=english

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