Pope Francis has offered prayers for the people affected by Saturday’s train derailment in Quebec, said the Vatican secretary of state.
A runaway oil train smashed into the small Canadian town, Lac-Megantic, causing massive explosions which killed at least 20 people, left dozens missing and caused massive destruction to about 30 buildings.
In a message released by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said the Pope offered words of condolence to the community of Lac-Megantic.
“Upon learning of the tragic train derailment at Lac-Megantic, with its many victims of whom a large number is still unaccounted for, His Holiness Pope Francis unites himself through prayer in the anguish of the grieving families, and he entrusts the victims to the mercy of God, asking him to welcome them into His light,” the cardinal’s message said.
“He expresses his deep sympathy to the injured persons and their families, to the emergency workers and to all the people around them, asking the Lord to support and comfort them in their hardship.
“As a token of consolation, the Holy Father sends a special apostolic blessing to all persons touched by this tragedy,” the message concluded.
Archbishop Christian Lepine of Montreal has called for a day of prayer on July 14 for victims of the tragedy. He also called for a special collection to be taken in parishes.
On this day the archbishop plans to celebrate a Mass for accident victims and the people of Lac-Megantic at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral.