Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Prefect for the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, will celebrate preside over a Mass at the altar of the tomb of Saint Peter for the victims of the tragic shipwreck that occurred in Lampedusa on last week.
On Thursday, tragedy struck as a boat carrying roughly 500 migrants sank when a fire was set on board to call attention to passing boats in effort. The fire spread causing the boat to drown. The death toll as of Tuesday is at 250, among them 7 children. Italian authorities are continuing search efforts to recover more bodies at sea.
According to a report by Vatican Radio, the bishops of the Alexandrian Ge’ez Rite of Ethiopia and Eritrea are also expected to concelebrate at the mass. Many of the victims of the tragedy belonged to the Alexandrian Ge’ez Church. Members of the Pontifical Ethiopian College will also be present.
In a communique released by the Pontifical Council for Oriental Churches, the prelates who will concelebrate the Mass and take part in the Holy Father’s General Audience.
They will unite themselves in prayer with Pope Francis for those who lost their lives and for the families who mourn them,” the communique stated. The prelates will also express their filial gratitude for the repeated appeals of His Holiness for solidarity so that similar tragedies may never occur again.