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On Saturday, Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the deadly building collapse in Miami. The pontiff offered prayers and condolences to all those affected by the disaster, which has left more than 150 people unaccounted for.
CNA reported that Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin expressed Pope Francis’ “deep sadness at the grievous loss of life.” The statement expanded upon this sentiment:
Pope Francis “offers heartfelt prayer that Almighty God will grant eternal peace to those who have died, comfort to those who mourn their loss, and strength to all those affected by this immense tragedy.
“With gratitude for the tireless efforts of the rescue workers and all engaged in caring for the injured, the grieving families and those left homeless, Pope Francis invokes upon the entire community the spiritual gifts of consolation, fortitude and perseverance in every good,” the message stated.
The devastating building collapse occurred around 1:30 a.m. on June 24. The 12-story condominium, called the Champlain Towers, partially collapsed around residents while they slept. As of Monday morning, the disaster relief workers have confirmed the deaths of 10, while 151 more are yet to be found.
The search and rescue effort is still ongoing, but it is facing obstacles. Daniella Levine Cava, Mayor of Miami-Dade county, explained that a fire within the rubble is causing difficulties. The smoke has spread laterally through the rubble, exacerbating the situation.
A report from NCR notes that Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami has mobilized a campaign to collect donations for the victims. Their services include counseling for survivors, as well as finding temporary housing for residents who are now homeless.
On Thursday, just hours after the tragedy, Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami expressed his grief. He said in a statement:
“Our hearts go out to all those affected by the tragedy.” He promised to pray “for the victims, their families, and first responders. May the Lord give them strength.”
The archdiocese has organized prayer services for all those affected by the collapse. On Friday, a special Mass was held at the local St. Joseph’s parish with the intentions focused on those who were still missing. On Saturday, a special prayer vigil was held at the parish. The vigil turned into a procession, which moved to the site of the collapse with candles and flowers.
The search effort is still underway, for which Church leaders have asked continued prayers and support.