Pope Francis 'deeply saddened' by quakes in Turkey, Syria

 VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis Monday said he was “deeply saddened” by the earthquakes that have killed more than 1700 people in Turkey and Syria, the Vatican said. In a telegram to the papal nuncios in Turkey and Damascus, Cardinal Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, quoted the pontiff as saying he prays that emergency workers will be sustained by “fortitude and perseverance.”

 “His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the huge loss of life caused by the earthquake in the area of southeastern Turkey,” the telegram said, “and he sends the assurance of his spiritual closeness to all those affected.”

 “Entrusting those who have died to the loving mercy of the Almighty, he sends heartfelt condolences to those who mourn their loss. His Holiness likewise prays that the emergency personnel will be sustained in their care of the injured and in the ongoing relief efforts by the divine gifts of fortitude and perseverance,” the telegram added.