VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis joined French World Youth Day pilgrims in mourning the death of 21-year-old Sophie Moriniere, a member of a Paris WYD group, who was killed July 17 in a road accident in French Guiana.

“With all his heart, Pope Francis shares the pain of her family, the group leaders and organizers,” said a message signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, and posted on the Paris archdiocesan website.


The archdiocese said Moriniere was a popular member of the youth group from Paris’ St. Leo Parish and was serving as a special WYD correspondent for the archdiocesan-run Notre Dame Radio.

Pope Francis also offered his prayers for the six people injured when the bus in which they were riding collided with a truck near Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni in western French Guiana.

Local media reported that Moriniere was one of 23 people from France who had traveled to French Guiana before heading to Brazil for World Youth Day events in Rio de Janeiro July 23-28. The group of young Catholics reportedly was on its way to Kourou, home of the Guiana Space Center, from which the European Space Agency and the French space program launch satellites.

Bishop Emmanuel Lafont of Cayenne celebrated a Mass for the crash victims July 17, while Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris was to preside over a prayer service July 20 at St. Leo’s.

In a statement July 17, the cardinal asked Paris Catholics to say special prayers for Moriniere and her fellow pilgrims who experienced “a tragedy in the midst of their pilgrimage of faith.”