Pope: Dismay and prayers for victims of Brazil nightclub blaze

2013-01-28 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his “dismay” at the deadly toll of a devastating night-club fire in Brazil this weekend. An estimated 232 young people were killed in the blaze which engulfed a disco in the city of Santa Maria in the south of the country. 130 others were injured, some seriously.

The telegram sent to Archbishop Hélio Adelar Ruper, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, reads: The Pope is shocked by the tragic death of hundreds of young people … asks that you express his deepest condolences to the families of the victims, sharing in the sorrow of all those who mourn them. He entrusts the dead to God, the Father of mercy, and prays for the comfort and restoration of the wounded and for the courage and consolation of all those affected by the tragedy. He sends his apostolic blessing to all those who are suffering and those who are assisting them."

The country meanwhile is still in shock and searching for answers to a tragedy that perhaps could have been avoided. The origin of the fire seems to have been the lighting of a flare onstage by a member of a band during a performance.

The Brazilian bishops have also expressed their "spiritual closeness and solidarity" to all those who have been affected by the tragedy. Archishop Hélio Adelar Ruper, of Santa Maria, has urged those involved "not to lose hope."