On Saturday, Pope Francis gave a message to Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, expressing “his deep sadness at the grievous loss of life” in the collapse.

Pope Francis offers:

“his heartfelt prayer that Almighty God will grant eternal peace to those who have died, comfort to those who mourn their loss, and strength to all those affected by this immense tragedy. With gratitude for the tireless efforts of the rescue workers and all engaged in caring for the injured, the grieving families and those left homeless, Pope Francis invokes upon the entire community the spiritual gifts of consolation, fortitude and perseverance in every good.”

Yesterday, survivors of the collapse gathered at the nearby St. Joseph’s Catholic Church to honor and pray for the victims. Parish pastor Father Juan Sosa said 9 registered families remain missing following just before celebrating Mass:

“Plus there are the many who used to come on weekends from other parts of Miami who have worshipped with us, and so we are very touched by the idea of the whole community being bound together and praying together. For us it is very important to have something to do at this time to bring hope to those people. I have visited the place many times and I have been to dinner with some of those members that are missing. It was horrendous because I didn’t know exactly what part of the building many of those families lived in, but apparently the 10 families were in that part of the building that collapsed, and some of those who are OK lived in the standing building. I am an optimist but sad about this horrible situation. It reminds me of Sept. 11, 2001, but I want to keep hope alive that they will rescue more like they rescued that boy we saw on television. Keep your heart on the one who can grant us the opportunity to see our loved ones, and that is God. Keep your hearts open so you will be able to feel and experience, in the midst of grief, the healing presence of the Lord, may we continue to work together to help the needy and support our rescue teams and searchers as well as the many at the Surfside center and other places who are relating to each other in ways they didn’t relate before. Now, somehow, we are all together trying to alleviate the situation and pain caused by this.”

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