.- Pope Benedict XVI has voiced his prayers and condolences for the victims of a deadly bus accident in Switzerland that killed 28 people, including 22 schoolchildren.
“His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI associates himself in prayer with the suffering of the mourning families, entrusting the victims to the mercy of God and asking Him to welcome them into His light,” Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said in a telegram sent on the Pope’s behalf to Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels in Belgium.
The tourist bus carrying 52 people hit a wall inside a tunnel after departing for home from a Swiss Alps ski vacation, the Associated Press reports. The Belgian children were on a school outing. In addition to the 22 children who died, 24 were hurt and some suffered serious injuries.
Pope Benedict also expressed his “profound sympathy” for the injured and their families as well as his “closeness” to rescue workers, praying that God will “give them help and consolation in their moment of trial.”
“As a token of comfort, the Holy Father confers a special apostolic blessing upon everyone affected by this drama,” the cardinal said.
Bishop Norbert Brunner of Sion, Switzerland assured victims and their families of their prayers.
“We ask the Lord to take care of the families and give them hope,” he said March 14. “We thank all the helpers and rescuers and the people who support the families in grief.”
The bishop celebrated a memorial Mass for the dead on March 15 at the Parish of Sainte-Croix in Sierre, the city where the accident occurred.