Pope Assures Spiritual Closeness with Victims of Train Accident in Spain

78 Confirmed Dead in Trail Derailment Near Santiago de Compostela

Rome, (Zenit.org) Junno Arocho Esteves | 1171 hits

Pope Francis expressed his sympathy to victims of a tragic train accident that occurred in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The death toll reached 78 people with hundreds seriously injured.

The accident happened yesterday morning when the train jumped the tracks on what officials have said was a difficult curve. Several news agencies reported that investigators believe that the train was traveling over twice the speed limit for that curve, causing it to lose control. The accident occurred one day before the feast of St. James, a major holiday in the city where the remains of the apostle are interred.

Pope Francis conveyed his sorrow in a telegram to the Archbishop Julián Barrio Barrio of Santiago de Compostela, while assuring the victims of his prayers.

“Filled with deep pain, I ask your Excellency to please let those who have suffered know of my closeness to the their families, my fraternal affection and my personal solidarity, assuring them of suffrages for the deceased and a complete and total recovery for all those who have been so terribly distressed.,” the telegram stated.

"On this day when the Church entrusts herself to the intercession of James the Apostle, heavenly patron of Spain and Witness of the Risen Christ, together with my epxressions of encouragement for all the children of this noble land, I cordially impart a special Apostolic blessing that comes from faith and is a bearer of consolation that offers true love."

The Holy Father, who is in Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day, also sent out a tweet from his Spanish-language Twitter account. “I pray for the victims of the accident in Santiago de Compostela and I feel very close to those who are suffering in these sad times,” the Holy Father tweeted.

Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, called for a moment of silence before briefing journalists at the WYD Media Center in Rio de Janeiro.

“The Holy Father has been informed of this incident,” Fr. Lombardi confirmed. “As I was coming here, I exchanged some words with those who were with the Holy Father as he was returning to his residence in Sumarè and he has joined to this pain and has invited all to pray and live in faith this moment of pain.”