In a letter, the Apostolic Nuncio conveys the 'closeness of the Holy Father' to those affected

Pope Francis has offered his sympathies to those affected by Storm Desmond in a letter to the Bishop of Lancaster from the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain.

Archbishop Antonio Mennini said: “Having learnt of the devastating effects caused in the North of England and in Cumbria in particular by Storm Desmond in these last days, I should like to convey to you and your people, along with the civic authorities and support services, the closeness of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and my personal sympathy at this time.”

He added: “I wish to assure you of my prayers for those who have tragically lost their homes or been injured, as well as for their relatives and friends. May the Lord grant them comfort and strength in facing the future.”

A Mass, set for December 8, to celebrate the opening of the Year of Mercy at Lancaster Cathedral was cancelled due to the storm, which has claimed two lives and seen 5,200 homes flooded, according to the BBC.

In a statement released on Monday, Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster offered his own sympathies to those affected.

He said: “My heart goes out in particular to those of you who now have had to endure such upheaval and destruction for the second time in recent years. I know that the wonderful spirit of community solidarity which sustained you then, will again give you the courage and determination to meet and deal with the present dreadful adversity.”

Bishop Campbell also offered his gratitude to radio stations, power companies and emergency services in the area “for their unstinting work”.

In addition to thoughts and prayers, the bishop encouraged Catholics in the diocese to donate to the Cumbria Community Foundation, which has been launched for those affected by the flooding.