Pope prays for victims of New Zealand quake

February 24th, 2011 - 11:45 am ICT by IANS  

Rome, Feb 24 (IANs/AKI) Pope Benedict XVI Wednesday offered prayers and condolences to the scores of people who perished in the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. His thoughts were also dedicated to the families of the dead.

“At this time my thoughts turn especially to the people there who are being severely tested by this tragedy. Let us ask God to relieve their suffering and to support all who are involved in the rescue operations.

“I also ask you to join me in praying for all who have lost their lives,” Benedict said during a general audience at the Vatican.

In a telegram sent to Christchurch bishop Barry Jones, Benedict said he was saddened to learn of the sudden devastation and loss of life in the city of Christchurch due to the recent earthquake.

The New Zealand government Wednesday declared a national state of emergency for the first time in the country’s history, 24 hours after the magnitude 6.3 quake struck killed at least 75 people, with 300 people still missing.

In the telegram Benedict said he was praying for the people involved in rescue efforts to free those who are trapped in rubble.

New Zealand is predominantly Christian, with Catholics making up 13 percent of its 4.3 million people.

–IANS/AKI
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