Pope Benedict has again expressed his deep concern and spiritual closeness to the people of Japan in the wake of the earthquakes and tsunamiswhich have cause so much death and destruction.
After praying the midday Angelus yesterday, together with pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father said in Italian: "the images of the tragic earthquake and consequent tsunami in Japan have deeply shaken us."
"I would like to renew my spiritual nearness to the dear people of that country," he continued, "who are dealing with the effects of these calamities with dignity and courage. I pray for the victims and for their families and for all those who are suffering because of these awful events.
"I encourage those who with praiseworthy readiness are preparing to bring help. We remain united in prayer. The Lord is near!"
In his greeting in English, Benedict XVI asked for more prayers "for the victims of the recent devastation visited upon Japan."
He added, "May the bereaved and injured be comforted and may the rescue workers be strengthened in their efforts to assist the courageous Japanese people."