POPE CONDEMNS TERRORIST ATTACK IN FRANCE – PAPAL CONDOLENCES FOR VICTIMS OF FIRE IN SIBERIA

I cannot let this day pass without writing to all of you – so many of you! – who contacted me via email or commented on my Facebook post, “For Whom the Bell Tolls: The Death of a Radio.”

I was overwhelmed with your sentiments and prayers and feelings of gratitude for the work done by Vatican Radio in general and my program, “Joan Knows,” in particular. This late, great radio gave us countless hours of special news reports and feature programs – so many it is almost impossible to calculate – and they will be missed. The last ones air Easter Sunday, April 1.

In the meantime, please know I intend to be with you a loooong time via EWTN! I not only have this daily column, I report to you twice weekly with televised segments from Rome for “At Home with Jim and Joy,” and, of course, we get together again during my weekend radio show, “Vatican Insider.”

I’m going to find a way to bring you audio reports a few times a week as part of this daily blog, “Joan’s Rome.” With today’s technology that should be a breeze – at least I hope so.

And naturally there’s the other “Joan’s Rome” – my videos. I’ve done 59 so far, most from the Vatican and Rome but 14 were filmed in Assisi. In April I’ll be filming about a dozen more videos and will alert you when those are done and ready for airing!

Again, heartfelt thanks for your friendship and gratitude for my work!

The beat goes on!

By the way, you will be remembered in my prayers as the staff of EWTN in Rome gathers this afternoon in the Chapel of the Canons in St. Peter’s Basilica for Mass in memory of Mother Angelica on the anniversary of her death. Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre will celebrate Mass.

POPE CONDEMNS TERRORIST ATTACK IN FRANCE

Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolences to Bishop Alain Planet of Carcassone and Narbonne in southwest France where four people were killed and 15 injured in a terrorist attack on March 23rd. The Pope said he entrusts to God’s mercy all those who lost their lives and assured their loved ones of his closeness. In particular, he recalled Arnaud Beltrame’s “generous and heroic” gesture as he gave his life to protect the lives of others.

“I renew my condemnation for such acts of violence that cause so much pain and fervently ask the Lord for the gift of peace, invoking on the affected families and on all the people of France God’s blessings.”

The attacker was shot dead by police after the shooting spree that included taking hostages at a supermarket in the town of Trèbes.

PAPAL CONDOLENCES FOR VICTIMS OF FIRE IN SIBERIA

Pope Francis also sent a telegram of condolences for the 64 people killed in a deadly fire that swept through the Winter Cherry shopping and entertainment complex in the Siberian city of Kemerovo. Many of the victims were children as the complex is a popular place for family entertainment.

Local media said smoke and flames engulfed a children’s trampoline room and a cinema on the fourth floor. Witnesses said emergency exits were blocked and officials are searching for a security officer who is suspected of turning off a Public Announcement system after he was alerted to the blaze. Four people have been detained for questioning, including the owner of the complex and the head of the company that manages the shopping center.

The telegram, sent in the Pope’s name by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, said, “His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the fire which struck the Winter Cherry complex in Kemerovo, and he offers heartfelt condolences to all those affected by this tragedy. Entrusting the deceased, especially the many children who lost their lives, to the merciful love of God Almighty, His Holiness offers the assurance of his prayers for all who mourn their loss. With the assurance of his spiritual closeness to the authorities and emergency personnel as they assist the injured and continue their search for the missing, Pope Francis invokes upon all the divine blessings of peace and consolation.” (vaticannews.va)

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