In a telegram sent by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Pope Francis expressed his condolences to the victims of a tragic ferry accident that occurred off the central port of Cebu on Friday night. The Pope’s message was sent to Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and Archbishop of Cebu.
The St. Thomas Aquinas Ferry, which was carrying 800 passengers and crew members, collided with a cargo ship. Several news agencies reported that the ferry sank within minutes of the impact and claimed the lives of over 50 people.
“His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life resulting from the ferry boat accident off the central port of Cebu,” the telegram stated. “He assures all affected of his closeness in prayer and commends the victims to the loving mercy of Almighty God. The Holy Father invokes divine strength and comfort upon the grieving families, the injured and those involved in the rescue efforts”