Pope prays for victims of massive earthquake in Chile
Published: March 1, 2010
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI prayed for the victims of the massive earthquake in Chile and pledged the assistance of Catholic relief organizations. The pope made the remarks at his noon blessing Feb. 28, the day after a magnitude 8.8 quake struck the South American country, triggering giant waves and leaving at least 700 dead. "My thoughts are with Chile and with the populations stricken by the earthquake, which caused great loss of life and terrible damage," the pope said from his apartment window above St. Peter's Square. "I am praying for the victims and am spiritually close to those affected by this serious catastrophe. For them, I ask God to grant relief of suffering and courage in this adversity. I am sure solidarity will be shown by many, in particular by church organizations," he said. Chile was moving about 10,000 troops into affected cities to maintain order and prevent looting. Many stricken towns in central Chile, the worst-hit area, were still cut off, so authorities feared the death toll could climb much higher. Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic of Rancagua, president of the Chilean bishops' conference, said in a message to the country that the Catholic Church would mobilize to help meet the people's spiritual and material needs. "With the strength of the Gospel, we are bearers of hope in moments of anguish, pain and devastation. To the public authorities, to those working for the state and to volunteer organizations, we offer our help," he said.
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