VATICAN CITY, FEB. 10, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI assures Australia of his closeness in prayer for the victims of the bushfires in Victoria, and for the assistance organizations who have gone to their rescue.
The Pope’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, affirmed this today in a message sent to the governor-general of Australia, Quentin Bryce. The death toll has reached 181, with many people still missing. Hundreds of families have lost their homes and are living in temporary shelter.
The message read:
“Deeply saddened to learn of the tragic consequences of recent fires in the state of Victoria, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI assured all affected of his closeness in prayer.
“The Holy Father commends the deceased to the loving mercy of Almighty God, and upon their grieving families, and all those suffering from loss of property and destruction of land, he invokes divine strength and consolation.
“His Holiness likewise prays for all involved in providing assistance to the victims of this disaster, encouraging them in their efforts to bring relief and support.”