ROME — After a major bridge collapsed in Genoa on Tuesday, killing 38 and leaving many others wounded or missing, Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims and all those effected by the disaster, entrusting them to God’s mercy.
Speaking to pilgrims during his Angelus address on the Aug. 15 feast of the Assumption of Mary, the pope entrusted to her maternal consolation “the anguish and torments of all those who, in many parts of the world, suffer in body and in spirit.”
“I think in particular of all those tried by the tragedy which took place yesterday in Genoa, which has caused victims and a loss for the population,” he said, and entrusted the souls of the departed to the mercy of God.
He expressed his “spiritual closeness” to victims’ families, to the wounded, the displaced and “all those who suffer due to this dramatic event.” He then asked pilgrims to join him in praying a Hail Mary for the victims.
Francis spoke the day after the Aug. 14 collapse of the Morani bridge in Genoa, which was built in the 1960s – an event Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia, president of the country’s bishops’ conference, said had “bloodied” the summer holiday.
The bridge ran across the Polcevera stream and crossed over a broad valley filled with apartments, warehouses and railway lines.
A large section of the bridge several hundred feet long collapsed around noon local time during heavy rainfall. So far at least 38 people have been confirmed to have died, including both those in vehicles and those in the buildings below – several others are still missing.
In a statement after the collapse, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa and president of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, said he was “profoundly shaken by the immense disaster.”
The event “has wounded the city,” he said, adding that the Church in Genoa “weeps” for all those who have lost their lives.
Noting how Aug. 15 marks the feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven, Bagnasco urged every church in the diocese to remember the victims with special prayers during their liturgical celebrations.
“The Christian community extends an embrace of solidarity to the families of the victims, and is close to the injured,” he said.