By Devin Watkins
Pope Francis said on Wednesday he is praying for all those affected by a bridge collapse in the northern Italian city of Genoa.
A section of the 45-meter high ‘Morandi’ bridge collapsed on Tuesday morning. Officials say at least 39 people died in the tragedy.
On the Solemnity of the Assumption, Pope Francis prayed that “our heavenly Mother obtain comfort, courage, and serenity for all”, especially those affected by the bridge collapse. He also entrusted the victims “to God’s mercy”.
“I express my spiritual closeness to their families, to the injured, to the displaced, and to all those who suffer as a result of this dramatic event,” the Pope said.
Pope Francis invited everyone to join him in prayer for them, and led the crowd in the recitation of the Hail Mary.
The Morandi bridge collapsed in the Italian port city of Genoa on Tuesday during torrential rainfall.
A 80-meter section of the motorway bridge built in 1967 crumpled over a river, railroad tracks, and industrial buildings. Around 35 vehicles were driving on it when the bridge collapsed. Television images showed a green truck stopped just meters short of the gaping hole.
Emergency teams say they are treating recovery efforts like an earthquake, removing rubble carefully in search of survivors. Hundreds of people were evacuated from homes in the area.
Special prayer to Our Lady
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa, said the city “is wounded but not broken. I’m sure the city will pull together and look ahead with great courage, as it always has in the past.”
The Cardinal said local parishes were opened on the feast of the Assumption to allow the faithful to pray for those affected.
“I invited all the parishes in Genoa to offer a special prayer to Our Lady, entrusting to her the victims, the injured, their families, and the city itself,” he said.