.- After the Regina Coeli prayer on Sunday, the Holy Father repeated his condolences to the "beloved Polish nation" for the deaths of President Lech Kaczynski and so many others in a plane crash on Saturday. The Pope assured the country of his prayers and entrusted the victims to the "merciful Lord of life."
"As we all know, yesterday saw the tragic airplane accident in Smolensk (Russia) in which the President of Poland, Mr. Lech Kaczynski, his wife, various high authorities of the Polish State and all of the delegation, including the Military Ordinary Archbishop perished," the Pope said.
"In expressing my profound condolences, I assure my heartfelt prayer of homage for the victims and of support for the beloved Polish nation," he added.
The Polish leader and delegation were on their way to the village of Katyn to commemorate, in a ceremony with Russian officials, the 70th anniversary of the assassination of more than 20,000 Polish military officers in World War II.
It was confirmed on Sunday that 97 people died in the crash.
In his individual language greetings to pilgrims, the Pope said, in Polish, that it was "with deep sorrow" that he found out about the accident. Remembering the victims and the reason for their visit to Russia, he entrusted "all to the merciful Lord of life."
"I do it," he told the audience, "uniting myself with the pilgrims gathered from the Sanctuary of Lagiewniki and with all those devoted to the Mercy of God in the entire world."
Citizens of Poland observed two minutes of silence on Sunday to remember the victims.