Pope Francis offered prayers on August 2 for the faithful of Nicaragua following the damaging on July 31, of the crucifix in the Cathedral of Managua.
The Holy Father’s expression of closeness came after praying the noonday Angelus with the “socially distanced” crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
“I am thinking of the people of Nicaragua who are suffering because of the attack in the Cathedral of Managua, where an image of Christ that is highly venerated, that has accompanied and sustained the life of the faithful people for centuries, was greatly damaged – almost destroyed.,” Pope Francis said. “Dear brothers and sisters in Nicaragua, I am near you and am praying for you.”
On Friday, an unknown attacker entered Managua’s Cathedral and threw a Molotov cocktail at a 400-year-old crucifix, which went up in flames, according to Vatican News.
Firemen brought the blaze under control fairly quickly, and there were no injuries.
The Archbishop of Managua, Cardinal Leopoldo José Brenes, called the incident “an act of terrorism.”
In a statement, the Archdiocese of Managua said the attack was “deplorable” and “offends and deeply wounds” all Catholics in Nicaragua.
Vatican News recalled that Pope St. John Paul II visited the Cathedral and prayed before the now-destroyed crucifix in February 1996.
At the time, he urged Nicaraguans not to waver in their faith “when the fatigue, loneliness, or incomprehension of others seeks to diminish your enthusiasm.”
“Do not doubt that you are loved by the Lord and that His love always precedes and accompanies you. His victory serves as a guarantee of ours!” said the Polish Pope.