Pope Francis, Archbishop Sartain join international community in mourning after New Zealand attacks

  • Written by Courtney Grogan, CNA
  • Published in International
Pope Francis at a general audience in Rome, June 2018. Photo: CNA Pope Francis at a general audience in Rome, June 2018. Photo: CNA

Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain offered prayers for peace and consolation following the New Zealand mosque attacks. On Friday, at least 49 people were killed in attacks on two mosques in the city of Christchurch.

“Our hearts and prayers go forth to the victims and their families, and all New Zealanders, at this time of mourning following the horrific terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch,” the archbishop said in a statement issued March 15. “The tragic, senseless deaths call us to recognize the sin of racism in all its forms and to forswear violence in all its manifestations, large and small. May God bring peace and consolation to those whose lives have been so painfully affected by yesterday’s attacks, and at every opportunity may we be instruments of Christ’s peace. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers,’ Jesus teaches us. May our words, attitudes and actions always be rooted in his peace.”

Pope Francis assured all New Zealanders, in particular the Muslim community, of “his heartfelt solidarity in the wake of these attacks,” in a telegram sent on his behalf by the Vatican Secretary of State March 15.

New Zealand officials say that one man in his late 20s has been charged with murder, and two other armed suspects have been taken into police custody. The attacks centered on the Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday afternoon.

One of the attackers broadcast the murders live on Facebook. Police also found two explosive devices attached to his vehicle.

The attack took place during Friday prayer at the mosques. At least 48 people were injured in addition to the 49 confirmed dead.

“Commending those who have died to the loving mercy of Almighty God, Pope Francis invokes the divine blessings of comfort and strength upon the nation,” the Vatican telegram stated.

Pope Francis said he will continue to pray for “the healing of the injured, the consolation of those who grieve the loss of their loved ones, and for all affected by this tragedy.”