After a Germanwings Airbus carrying 150 people crashed Tuesday in the French Alps, the Holy See has assured the Pope's prayers for the departed and has offered solidarity with the victims’ families. “Having learned of the tragic plane crash in the Digne region, which has claimed numerous victims, including several children, His Holiness Pope Francis joins in their families mourning, showing his closeness to their pain,” read a March 24 message sent from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, to Bishop Jean-Philippe Nault of Digne. “He prays for the repose of the deceased, trusting in the mercy of God to welcome them into his home in peace and light. He expresses his prfound sympathy for those touched by this tragedy, as well as for the rescuers who work in difficult conditions. The Holy Father asks the Lord to provide strength and consolation, and, in a pledge of comfort, invokes upon them an abundance of divine blessings.” The Airbus A320 airliner, Germanwings Flight 9525, went down in the French Alps between Digne and Barcelonnette while on its way from Barcelona to Duesseldorf. Germanwings is a low-cost airline owned by Lufthansa; it has no previously reported accidents. Reports state that the plane — which had been carrying 144 passengers and six crew — hit the ground after an eight minute descent. Officials have said there are no survivors. Several German newspapers have reported that a German school class on its way back from an exchange trip were among the passengers; two babies are also reported to have been on board. According to France’s aviation authority, the airliner never sent out a distress signal and lost radio contact before crashing. The cause of the crash is unknown, and the aircraft lost contact with French air traffic control at 10:53 am. According to the BBC, search-and-rescue teams are currently headed to the crash site at Meolans-Revels. The Spanish bishops conference expressed their “grief for the loss of human life” and offered their condolences “to the families of the victims, while entrusting to God the eternal repose of the deceased.” In their statement, the Spanish bishops invited Catholics and all believers to include the victims and their families in both their personal and communal prayers.
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