Pope Pauses to Pray for Madrid Victims

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 15, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II interrupted his activities at midday to pray for the victims of last Thursday's terrorist attacks in Madrid.



While the whole of Europe was in silence to remember the 200 dead, the Pope knelt today in his private chapel to unite himself "spiritually with all those who are suffering because of this attack, praying for their intentions."

A statement issued by Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls revealed that the Holy Father celebrated Mass today in suffrage for the attacks in Spain, as he has done in previous days.

After three minutes of silence, while the Holy Father continued to pray in private, Vatican Radio transmitted the prayer he offered the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.

"O Almighty and merciful God," the prayer reads, "you cannot be understood by the one who sows discord, you cannot be accepted by the one who loves violence. Look at our painful human condition, tried by cruel acts of terror and death. Comfort your children and open our hearts to hope, so that our time may again know days of serenity and peace. Through Christ our Lord."