Pope Francis expressed his deep sorrow and solidarity with the victims of a deadly bombing attack on a Catholic Mass in the southern Philippines during his weekly Angelus prayer.
“I would like to assure you of my prayers for the victims of the attack in the Philippines this morning, where a bomb exploded during Mass,” said Pope Francis.
The pope expressed his closeness to the affected families and the people of Mindanao.
The blast killed at least four people and injured more than 40 others at the Dimaporo Gymnasium in Mindanao State University (MSU) in the Islamic city of Marawi on the First Sunday of Advent.
In a telegram addressed to Bishop Edwin de la Peña of the Prelature of Marawi, Pope Francis, through Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, conveyed his profound sadness at the injuries and loss of life caused by the bombing.
The pontiff requested the bishop to share his “spiritual closeness to all affected by this tragedy” and prayed for the souls of the departed, asking for divine healing and consolation for the injured and bereaved.
“He joins you in commending the souls of those who died to Almighty God’s loving mercy and implores the divine gifts of healing and consolation upon the injured and bereaved,” continued the telegram.
The message concluded with Pope Francis expressing his hope that “Christ the Prince of Peace will grant all the strength to turn from violence and overcome every evil with good.”
He also imparted his blessing as a source of strength and consolation for those affected by the tragedy.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. condemned “the senseless and most heinous acts,” which he claimed were “perpetrated by foreign terrorists”.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said such violence should not only be denounced; it should also be renounced as a way of seeking redress by every peace-loving Filipino.