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Pope Francis prays for victims, bereaved families after Marawi bombing

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 4) – Pope Francis has offered prayers for all to have strength «to overcome every evil with good,» after the deadly bombing in Marawi City during a Catholic service on Sunday morning.

In a telegram message published on the Vatican website, the Pope relayed his message to Marawi Bishop Edwin dela Peña through the Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

«He joins you in commending the souls of those who died to Almighty God's loving mercy and he implores the divine gifts of healing and consolation upon the injured and bereaved,» Parolin conveyed to the Marawi bishop.

«With prayers that Christ the Prince of Peace will grant to all the strength to turn from violence and overcome every evil with good (cf. Rom. 12:21), His Holiness cordially imparts his blessing as a pledge of strength and consolation in the Lord,» he added.

The explosion at the Mindanao State University's (MSU) Dimaporo Gymnasium occurred at 7 a.m. on Sunday, killing four and injuring at least 50 attendees, including students and faculty members.

The Pope, in a post on X (formerly Twitter), also assured his prayers for the victims and said he is spiritually «close to the families and the people of Mindanao.»

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Sunday condemned the blast which he said was «perpetrated by foreign terrorists.»

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. believes the MSU blast could be a «retaliatory attack» of terrorist groups after a sub leader of the Maute group was killed Sunday morning.

Brawner said all of their units in Mindanao, as well as in the National Capital Region, have been placed on high alert.