Emergency services attend the scene following an Oct. 7, 2022, explosion at a gas station and adjacent apartment building in Creeslough, County Donegal, in northwest Ireland that killed at least 10 people. Pope Francis in a letter Oct. 8, 2022, expressed his “spiritual closeness” to those affected by the tragedy. / Photo by PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images
CNA Newsroom, Oct 10, 2022 / 08:42 am (CNA).
Pope Francis has assured his “spiritual closeness” to those affected by an Oct. 7 gas station explosion in northwest Ireland.
In a message sent to Bishop Alan McGuckian of Raphoe, the pontiff said he was “saddened to learn of the loss of life and destruction caused.”
The Catholic primate of Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, visited Creeslough on Monday and spoke to some of those involved in the rescue effort, RTE reported.
An explosion on Friday afternoon at a gas station in Creeslough, County Donegal, killed 10 people, three of them children. At least eight more people were wounded and taken to the hospital, according to local media reports.
“His holiness implores the divine blessings of consolation and healing upon the injured, the displaced, and the families coping with the pain of loss,” the Vatican message, signed by Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said.
The letter, dated Oct. 8 and published by Highland Radio, continued: “While entrusting the deceased to the merciful love of almighty God, his holiness implores the divine blessings of consolation and healing upon the injured, the displaced, and the families coping with pain of loss.”
“As a pledge of strength and peace in the Lord, the Holy Father sends his blessing to all the people in Ireland.”
Irish police are still investigating the circumstances that led to the explosion. AP quoted a local officer saying the evidence was “pointing toward a tragic accident.”
Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin said it was one of the “darkest of days for Donegal and the entire country.”
Books of condolence have been made available to record messages at several locations throughout the country and online, RTE reported.
Great Britain’s King Charles also expressed his sadness at the explosion.
In a message, the king said: “We wanted you to know that our most heartfelt sympathy and deepest condolences are with those who have lost loved ones.”