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Pope condoles with victims of Phl’s ferry disaster

MANILA, August 18, 2013—Pope Francis expressed deep sadness for the tragic loss of lives caused by the sinking of a ferry boat off the coast of Talisay in Cebu, Friday night. 

In a telegram of condolence sent to Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, the Holy Father gave his assurance of prayers and close solidarity with those affected by the tragedy, commending them “to the loving mercy of Almighty God.” 

“The Holy Father invokes divine strength and comfort upon the grieving families, the injured and those involved in the rescue efforts,” the letter read. 

The pope’s message was signed by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone. 

According to reports, the St. Thomas Aquinas ferry was carrying more than 800 passengers and crew members when it collided with a cargo ship off the coast of Talisay. The ferry sank within minutes of impact. 

As of Sunday afternoon, official death toll was pegged by the military at 39 with scores injured and many still missing. (CBCPNews)