The Holy See
back up

Holy Father is close in prayer and thought to American people

Last Tuesday, 11 September, when the Holy Father heard the news of the two massive terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, in which thousands of persons lost their lives, he sent a telegram to President George Bush in which he expressed "his profound sorrow for the unspeakable horror of the inhuman attacks against innocent persons and his closeness in prayer to the nation in the dark and tragic moment". You can find the text of the Holy Father's telegram on the front page of last week's issue.
On Wednesday, 12 September, the Holy Father laid aside his catechesis on the psalms and turned the General Audience into a Liturgy of Prayer for the victims of the attacks, for their families and for the nation. In this week's issue on page 11, you can find the Holy Father's address and the text of the prayer of the faithful that was used for the prayer service for the living and the dead. The Holy Father noted that the day was a dark one in the history of mankind, but that the last word comes from Christ's victory of love over sin, hatred and death. "Christian hope allows us to pray for those who do evil and for those who have to take the path of recovery. Even if the forces of darkness appear to prevail, those who believe in God know that evil and death do not have the final say. Christian hope is based on this truth; at this time our prayerful trust draws strength from it". The Holy Father prayed that the Lord grant the American people the courage they need in their hour of trial.
On Thursday, 13 September, the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of the new American Ambassador to the Holy See, H.E. Ambassador James Nicholson. The Holy Father again expressed his closeness in prayer to the American people and his sense of profound sadness over the tragedy. "I pray that this inhuman act will awaken in the hearts of all the world's peoples a firm resolve to reject the ways of violence, to combat everything that sows hatred and division within the human family". He said that it should pave the way for a "new era of international cooperation". The address can be found below.
On Friday, 14 September, at noon, the Holy Father interrupted his activity to join in the prayers for the dead and the survivors. We publish a photo of the Holy Father in prayer on Friday. In the dicasteries and offices of the Holy See, the officials offered the Angelus and prayers for the dead in union with the Italian people and authorities and the rest of Europe.
On Sunday, 16 September, at noon, at the end of his visit to the city of Frosinone, 80 kilometres south of Rome, the Holy Father made one of his intentions for the Angelus a prayer for the American people as they pick up their lives after the tragedy. We offer the text just below: 
"May Mary welcome the dead, console the survivors, support those families who are particularly tried, help all to resist the temptation to hatred and violence, and to dedicate themselves to the service of justice and peace".

(ŠL'Osservatore Romano - 19 September 2001)