VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis sent his condolences to the victims and survivors of one of the worst wildfires in Chile’s history.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, expressed the pope’s sentiments in a message dated Jan. 23 to Bishop Santiago Silva Retamales of the Military Ordinariate of Chile.
Pope Francis, the message said, wanted to convey “his condolences to the families of the victims and expressed his spiritual closeness to the wounded and those who suffer the consequences of this catastrophe.”
The pope also prayed that God would give the victims “strength and consolation” while inspiring “in everyone feelings of solidarity” so they may work together “to lessen the pain and overcome adversities.”
The pope met privately Jan. 26 with Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, apostolic nuncio to Chile.
The wildfires, which began in early January, have claimed the lives of four fighters and two police officers. Over 4,000 people have been evacuated from areas decimated by the blazes.
“We have never seen something of this size, never in Chile’s history. And the truth is the (firefighting) forces are doing everything that is humanly possible and will continue to do so until the fires are contained and controlled,” President Michelle Bachelet said, according to the Reuters news agency.
While wildfires are frequent during months of high temperatures and low humidity, the blazes that began in Valparaiso have spread due to a prolonged drought.
Chile’s national forestry service reported Jan. 25 that of the 131 separate blazes, only 23 have been extinguished, while 55 remain out of control.
Firefighters and experts from the United States, France, Peru and Mexico are helping to fight the wildfires.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103