VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As search and rescue operations
continued in central Mexico, where more than 200 people died after a strong
earthquake Sept. 19,
Pope Francis offered his prayers for the victims.
"May our mother, the Virgin of Guadalupe, with great
tenderness be near the beloved Mexican nation," the pope said in Spanish
Sept. 20 during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.
"Yesterday a terrible earthquake struck Mexico -- I see
there are many Mexicans among you today -- resulting in numerous victims and
material damage," the pope told the crowd in the square. The quake, measuring 7.1, caused
extensive damage in Mexico City and in neighboring states.
"In this moment of suffering," he said, "I
want to express my closeness and prayers to the entire Mexican
"Let us all raise our prayers together to God so that
he may welcome into his bosom those who have lost their lives and comfort the
wounded, their families and all those affected," Pope Francis said.
"We also ask prayers for all the relief and rescue personnel who are
lending their help to all the people affected."