18-July-2013 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Tragic Bus Accident Strikes French Youth Heading to WYD

Pope Francis Sends Condolence Message to Victims

By Junno Arocho Esteves

ROME, July 18, 2013 (Zenit.org) - Tragedy struck a group of 23 French youth heading to Brazil for World Youth Day (WYD) when their bus crashed into a truck, killing one pilgrim and leaving 5 in critical condition. The accident occurred in Kourou, located in French Guiana, a main stop for youth coming in from France heading to WYD.

According to a report by the New Straits Time, the group was on its way to Saint Laurent du Maroni when the tragic incident occurred. Local media reported that the victim who died was a girl from Paris.

Upon being informed of the accident Pope Francis sent a message to the group through the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone expressing his condolences and sympathy.

The message stated that the Holy Father conveyed his "heartfelt participation in the mourning of the families of the deceased, and of the group leaders and organisers."

"The Pope assures them of his prayers and expresses his deepest sympathy with those injured, the rescue workers and all those around them. The Holy Father wishes to impart the comfort of an apostolic blessing on all those touched by this tragedy," the statement read.

Bishop Emmanuel Marie Philippe Louis Lafont of Cayenne, the diocese where the accident occurred, celebrated a Mass Wednesday evening for the victims.

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