Pope Francis has reached out to victims of the tragic continuing wildfire that broke out last Saturday in the the port city of Valparaiso, Chile. Though now contained, the fire took at least 15 lives and left thousands homeless.
Pope Francis issued a message to the victims through Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin through a telegram addressed to Bishop Gonzalo Duarte Garcia de Cortàzar of Valparaiso.
The statement noted the Pope’s spiritual closeness to Valparaiso’s residents and communicated his prayers of support. It noted Francis’ sympathy for those who lost their homes and possessions.
The telegram read that the Pontiff not only supports rescue teams with his prayers, but also urges authorities and the population to not lose heart. He said that with a spirit of solidarity and fraternal charity, those who should receive assistance, will.
The Holy Father asked that his condolences be expressed to those killed and he conveyed his fatherly solicitude to those hurt. He imparted his apostolic blessing on the Chilean people. (D.C.L.)
Here is a translation of the text of the telegram:
MONSIGNOR GONZALO DUARTE GARCIA DE CORTAZAR
BISHOP OF VALPARAISO
GIVEN THE SAD NEWS OF THE TERRIBLE FIRE THAT IS AFFECTING THE CITY OF VALPARAISO, POPE FRANCIS WISHES TO EXPRESS HIS SPIRITUAL CLOSENESS TO ALL ITS INHABITANTS, OFFERING PRAYERS FOR THE DECEASED IN THIS GRAVE DISASTER, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME SHARING IN THE ANGUISH OF THOSE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES AND GOODS.
LIKEWISE, AND WHILE SUPPORTING WITH HIS PRAYER THE EFFORTS OF THE RESCUE TEAMS, THE HOLY FATHER BEGS THE AUTHORITIES AND ALL THE PEOPLE NOT TO LOSE COURAGE IN FACE OF THE ADVERSITY, SO THAT WITH A SPIRIT OF FRATERNAL SOLIDARITY AND CHARITY THE NECESSARY AID REACHES ALL THOSE AFFECTED.
YOUR EXCELLENCY WILL ALSO BE KIND ENOUGH TO TRANSMIT TO THE RELATIVES OF THE DECEASED HIS HOLINESS’ MOST PROFOUND SYMPATHY AND EXPRESS TO THE WOUNDED AND AFFECTED HIS PATERNAL SOLICITUDE.
WITH THESE SENTIMENTS, THE SUPREME PONTIFF IMPARTS A SPECIAL APOSTOLIC BLESSING, AS SIGN OF AFFECTION TO ALL CHILEANS.
CARDINAL PIETRO PAROLIN
SECRETARY OF STATE OF HIS HOLINESS[Original text: Spanish] [Translation by ZENIT]