Rome Newsroom, Mar 7, 2021 / 11:00 am
Pope Francis met Sunday with a father who lost his wife and two children in a shipwreck as Syrian war refugees.
Abdullah Kurdi was one of the thousands of people in the crowd at the pope’s stadium Mass in Erbil, Iraq, on March 7.
The haunting photo of his son, Alan Kurdi, made headlines around the world in 2015. The photo showed the three-year-old’s tiny body lying face down on a Turkish beach after he drowned trying to cross the Aegean Sea.
Abdullah Kurdi was one of only four people to survive after a dinghy carrying 16 refugees making the perilous journey from Turkey to the Greek Island of Kos capsized. His other son, Ghalib, and his wife, Rehanna, also died in the shipwreck.
During their encounter after the Mass in Erbil, Pope Francis told the father that the Lord participated in his suffering, according to a statement from the Holy See press office.
“The pope spent a long time with him and with the help of the interpreter he was able to listen to his father’s pain for the loss of his family and to express his profound participation and that of the Lord in the suffering of man,” it said.