Israeli rescue teams were also assisting the search and rescue operation, as Surfside is home to a Jewish community, she noted.
Diocesan priests are also serving as chaplains to the local response teams. At St. Patrick’s parish in nearby Miami Beach, the pastor Fr. Roberto Cid is a chaplain to the Miami Beach fire department. The rector at Miami’s St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fr. Christopher Marino, VF, also serves as a chaplain to the City of Miami fire department.
“Their role is to be chaplains to the firefighters. So, they are truly on sight. They are toes to the rubble with the firefighters,” Agosta said.
At Mass on Sunday, Fr. Sosa said he announced the names of parishioners involved in the tragedy, and set up a book of remembrance. The parish also hosted a prayer vigil on Saturday night.
One of the parishioners at St. Patrick’s in Miami Beach – Manuel LaFont – was confirmed dead on Saturday night, according to the Miami Herald. He owned a condominium in the Surfside complex.
Nearby Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in Miami has also been affected by the tragedy, as the school’s president reported one alumnus and ten family members of alumni and staff were among those unaccounted for in the building collapse.
“In times of such sadness, we must remain faithful to our heavenly Father and place our trust in Him,” stated Fr. Guillermo M. Garcia-Tuñón, SJ, in an email to the school’s community. “As a Belen family, we will place all those affected by this tragedy in the hands of Our Lady of Belen.”
The school is hosting a rosary for members of the community on Monday, June 28, at 8 p.m. local time.
The Vatican also sent a statement of solidarity on behalf of Pope Francis to the Miami archdiocese, on Saturday.
Pope Francis “offers heartfelt prayer that Almighty God will grant eternal peace to those who have died, comfort to those who mourn their loss, and strength to all those affected by this immense tragedy,” the Vatican stated.
Matt Hadro was the political editor at Catholic News Agency through October 2021. He previously worked as CNA senior D.C. correspondent and as a press secretary for U.S. Congressman Chris Smith.