“His Holiness commends the souls of the victims to the loving mercy of the Almighty and he offers encouragement to the civil authorities and emergency personnel as they continue their rescue efforts and assistance to those touched by this tragedy.”
These were among the consoling words offered by Pope Francis in a telegram Saturday expressing his condolences to the loved ones of an earthquake tragedy in Nepal, which has claimed nearly 2,000 lives.
The telegram was sent to to Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Nepal Paul Simick by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on Pope Francis’ behalf.
“His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the earthquake and the resultant loss of many hundreds of lives in Nepal, as well as in neighbouring countries,” it stated.
“He expresses his solidarity with all affected by this disaster and assures those who grieve for deceased family members of his closeness in prayer.”
The Holy Father’s message concluded, saying, “Upon them all he invokes the blessings of the Almighty as a pledge of healing and consolation.”
The government of Nepal has declared a state of emergency after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country, sources report. According to officials, more than 1,800 people were known to have died on Saturday in the earthquake, said to be the most powerful quake in the nation in decades. The death toll is expected to rise as more information is discovered. It struck 80 kilometers east of Pokhara, which is located about half way between the capital of Kathmandu and the town itself.
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