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Pope makes heartfelt appeal following drowning of 150 migrants

By Sarah Mac Donald - 30 July, 2019

Pope Francis has made a “heartfelt” appeal to the international community to “act promptly and decisively” to avoid any repetition of last Thursday’s Mediterranean tragedy, which resulted in up to 150 deaths.

In his address on Sunday after the Angelus, the Pontiff said he had “learned with pain the news of the dramatic shipwreck that occurred in recent days in the waters of the Mediterranean.

“I renew my heartfelt appeal for the international community to act promptly and decisively to avoid the repetition of similar tragedies and to guarantee the safety and dignity of all.”

He invited the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square to pray with him for the victims and their families and from the heart to ask: “Father, Why?”

The UNHCR said up to 150 migrants are feared to have drowned when their boat was shipwrecked off the coast of Libya. The UN agency said it is the worst shipwreck in the area this year. The Libyan navy put the total number of migrants on board the boat at 250.

Prior to this shipwreck, a total of 669 people had died in the Mediterranean Sea so far this year.

Before the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis described the “Our Father” as the synthesis of every prayer.

He said the “novelty” of Christian prayer is that it is “a dialogue between people who love one another, a dialogue based on trust, sustained by listening, and open to the commitment to solidarity.”

The Pope continued, “The prayer Jesus taught them, the Our Father, is one of the most precious gifts left to us by the divine Master during His earthly mission.”

With this prayer, he explained, Jesus teaches us “to enter into the Fatherhood of God, and shows us the way to enter into prayerful and direct dialogue with Him, through the way of filial trust.”

The Our Father, he said, “is the synthesis of every prayer, and we always address it to the Father in communion with our brothers and sisters.”

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