Pope prays for natural disaster victims in Guatemala, France
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday prayed for the victims of the landslides in Guatemala that have left over 70 people dead with hundreds of others still missing.
Speaking at the end of his Angelus address, the Pope called for spiritual closeness but also concrete solidarity for all those affected by the disaster that occurred when a hillside collapsed on houses in the village of El Cambray, just outside the Guatemalan capital on Thursday night.
Pope Francis also prayed for those who have lost their lives in the flash flooding in south-eastern France that has killed at least 16 people. Heavy storms hit the French Rivera on Saturday night, with several people dying trapped in their cars in tunnels or underground car parks. French President Francois Hollande has declared a state of “natural disaster” in the affected region, close to the Italian border.
The Pope’s words came following Mass in St Peter’s Basilica for the opening of the Synod of Bishops on the Family. In his Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the readings for the day, focused on the complementarity between man and woman, who together become one flesh and share in the creative power of God himself.
The Pope prayed for all parents and all educators, that they may be open and welcoming to the love which God shows especially to children. He mentioned especially those children who are hungry, abandoned, exploited, rejected or forced to fight in wars, saying that it is painful to see the pictures of children fleeing from poverty and conflict, knocking on our doors and imploring our help.
The Pope prayed that the Lord may help our societies to become not fortresses, but rather families that always welcome others with love.