The Pontiff also dedicated the general audience to giving hope, and exhorted all not to give up, even when nothing seems to have meaning.
“Live, love, believe, dream. God is your friend, and with His grace, you will never fall into despair,” Pope Francis said during his general audience this Wednesday, September 20, 2017, as rescue efforts intensified the day after a strong 7.1 earthquake struck Mexico.
The Pope spoke of the tragedy that took place this September 19, 2017, when a “terrible earthquake devastated Mexico—I saw that there are many Mexicans among you today—causing numerous victims and material damage.”
The earthquake in Mexico has caused at least 217 deaths, according to the provisional official count. This tragic number could increase as the hours pass, considering that more than 45 buildings have collapsed completely in Mexico City.
Pope Francis, who visited Mexico in 2016 (February 12-18), said at the end of his catechesis: “At this time of sorrow, I want to express my closeness to, and prayer for, the beloved people of Mexico. Let us all together lift up our prayers to God, that he may gather to his breast those who lost their lives, and comfort the wounded, their families, and all those who have suffered loss.”
“Let us also pray for all the emergency responders and rescuers who are helping the victims,” he continued.
“May our Mother, the Virgen of Guadalupe, be close to the beloved Mexican nation with great tenderness.”
Moments before the general audience, Pope Francis had encouraged young people not to be afraid, and to forget their own frustrations and difficult moments, reaching out to others and helping those in need.
“Remember that you are not better than anyone else, and that, as a Christian, you are the brother of all. Cultivate ideals and be faithful to them. And if you make a mistake, don’t hesitate to get back up every time, because we aren’t infallible, and the Son of God has come to save us all,” he pointed out.
The earthquake, which caused many victims in Mexico, took place precisely on the 32nd anniversary of another devastating earthquake which caused thousands of deaths in Mexico City. Today, professionals and volunteers alike are working around the clock to save the greatest possible number of lives, pulling victims from the wreckage.
At the time this article is being written, rescue teams are working hard in Mexico City so they can give good news to the families of those who were in the 45 buildings that collapsed.