In a tragic event that has gripped the Philippines and the international community, a bomb explosion during a Sunday Mass at Mindanao State University in Marawi claimed the lives of at least four individuals and injured 54.
The attack, which occurred in a gymnasium during the early hours of the morning, has been claimed by the Islamic State, a claim that is currently under investigation by the Philippines military.
Pope Francis, in a heartfelt response, expressed his deep sorrow and spiritual closeness to those affected by this tragedy. Through a condolence telegram sent by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Pope imparted his blessings and prayers for the victims, their families, and the bereaved. “His Holiness cordially imparts his blessing as a pledge of strength and consolation in the Lord,” the telegram said.
The city of Marawi is known for its significant Muslim majority. This latest attack has sparked fear and uncertainty, particularly among the local Catholic community. Bishop Edwin Angot de la Peña of the territorial prelature of Marawi noted the profound impact of the attack, stating, “They hit us in the heart, that is, during the Eucharist, the highest moment of our faith.” However, he also highlighted the solidarity and support shown by the local Muslim communities, who were among the first responders to the attack.
Philippine authorities are investigating the bombing as a possible retaliatory act for recent military operations against local extremist groups with ties to the Islamic State. In the wake of this incident, security measures have been heightened, and local Catholics have been advised to observe upcoming feast days with caution.
Pray for victims and their families!
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