Smoke from a wildfire in Sicily affected by extreme heat Smoke from a wildfire in Sicily affected by extreme heat 

Pope expresses closeness to victims of storms and wildfires in Greece and Italy

In two papal telegrams, Pope Francis offers his spiritual closeness and prayers for victims of severe storms and wildfires that have hit Italy and Greece. The Pope thanks the emergency workers who have come to help them.

By Vatican News

Pope Francis in two telegrams on Friday July 28 has expressed his solidarity and spiritual closeness to citizens in Greece and Italy who are dealing with destruction caused by severe storms and widespread wildfires hitting the nations.

In his telegram sent by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, to Bishop Petros Stefànou, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Greece, the Pope said he was “deeply concerned” by the life-threatening and widespread wildfires in various parts of Greece that have caused much damage due to the current heatwave affecting southern European countries.

“His holiness assures all those affected of his spiritual closeness and prays in a particular way that Almighty God will bless the efforts of the firefighters and other emergency personnel to combat this hazardous situation.”

The Pope also writes that he hopes that “the risks to our common home, exacerbated by the present climate crisis, will spur all people to renew their efforts to care for the gift of creation, for the sake of future generations.”

Call for courageous efforts

In his telegram to the President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, the Pope recalled the severe thunderstorms and fires that in recent days have caused destruction in parts of Italy. He expressed his closeness to all those hit by extreme weather events that highlight the need to make “courageous and far-sighted efforts” to deal with the challenges brought by climate change and the responsibility to protect the environment and care for our common home.

The Pope in his message conveyed by Cardinal Parolin said he prays that “the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, may bring comfort to all those suffering the consequences of such grave disasters.” He also expressed his appreciation for all those providing assistance, in particular the fire fighters, and he imparted his Apostolic Blessing.

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28 July 2023, 14:59