ROME — Pope Francis sent a telegram Wednesday to victims of the recent Alabama tornado and their families, promising prayers and solidarity.
“Deeply saddened to learn of the tragic loss of life and the injuries caused by the tornado which struck Alabama in recent days, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses heartfelt solidarity with all affected by this natural disaster,” reads the telegram, which was signed on behalf of the pontiff by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
“He prays that Almighty God may grant eternal rest to the dead, especially the children, and healing and consolation to the injured and those who grieve,” the text says. “Upon all who are suffering the effects of this calamity, the Holy Father invokes the Lord’s blessings of peace and strength.”
The telegram was addressed to The Most Reverend Thomas J. Rodi, Archbishop of Mobile.
The tornado that struck Sunday claimed the lives of at least 23 victims, ranging in age from 6 to 89, and left another 90 persons wounded.
The category EF4 tornado, the deadliest to hit the nation since May, 2013, brought winds of some 170 mph, blazing a destructive trail nearly a mile wide through Alabama for a distance of nearly 27 miles.
Hardest hit was the rural area of Beauregard, Alabama, near the Georgia border, with a population of some 10,000 people.
The deadly twister was one of 18 tornadoes that struck on Sunday in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
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