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Pope prays for victims of Australia wildfires



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis expressed his concern for the victims of wildfires that are raging throughout the Australian state of New South Wales. In a message addressed to the Bishops’ Conference of Australia, the Vatican’s new Secretary of State, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, said the Holy Father was praying “especially for those who have died and for those who have lost their homes and workplaces, as well as for the numerous personnel working to combat the fires and provide comfort and care for those who are suffering.”

Firefighters in Australia are focusing on a major blaze near the town of Lithgow that stretches along a 300-kilometer front.

Authorities warned Sunday that high temperatures and winds were likely to maintain heightened fire danger for days.

The fires have killed one man, destroyed a total of 208 homes in New South Wales state and damaged another 122 since Thursday.

Below, please find the complete text of the Message from the Holy Father on the Brushfires in Australia:

From the Vatican, 19 October, 2013
His Holiness Pope Francis has asked me to express his concern for the people of New South Wales and all who are affected the devastation wrought by the extensive fires in the region.
He prays especially for those who have died and for those who have lost their homes and workplaces, as well as for the numerous personnel working to combat the fires and provide comfort and care for those who are suffering.
Invoking the spiritual gifts of solidarity and perseverance upon the communities touched by these trying events, the Holy Father sends his blessing.
+Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State




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