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Pope sets prayers for blast victims

MANILA, Philippines — Pope Francis expressed his intention to pray for the victims of Sunday’s bombing attack that occurred during a mass inside a university campus in Marawi City.

In @Pontifex, which serves as the pope’s official page on X, formerly Twitter, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church said that he is close to the people of Mindanao.

“I wish to assure my prayer for the victims of the attack that occurred this (Sunday) morning in the Philippines, where a bomb exploded during mass. I am close to the families and the people of Mindanao, who have already suffered so much,” said the pontiff from his residence,s in remarks broadcast in Saint Peter’s Square.

Four people died and 45 people were hurt during the explosion at a morning Catholic mass at the Dimaporo Gymnasium of the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City.

According to Vatican News, the pope had sent a telegram to Marawi Bishop Edwin dela Peña, saying he is “deeply saddened to be informed of the injuries and loss of life caused by the bombing.”

The message was reportedly signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who said that the pontiff had asked Dela Peña to convey his “spiritual closeness” to all those who were affected by the tragedy.?“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,” the telegram added.

Pope Francis concluded his message with “prayers that Christ the Prince of Peace will grant to all the strength to turn from violence and overcome every evil with good,” and imparted his blessing “as a pledge of strength and consolation in the Lord.”

Meanwhile, the Marawi prelature said in a statement posted on its Facebook page that the bombing incident was both “merciless and heartbreaking.”

“The Prelature of St. Mary in Marawi strongly condemns any form of violence and terrorism. The incident that happened this morning was merciless and heartbreaking,” it said.

The prelature also requested the public to pray for the souls of those who died from the blast, as well as their families who were devastated because of the tragedy.