Pope leads prayers for rain to end heatwave

 Pope John Paul lead prayers for rain yesterday, during his audience at his summer retreat of Castelgandolfo. He expressed sorrow for the deaths caused by the exceptional heat, and concern for the damage to the environment as many parts of Europe have been wreaked by forest fires The Pope said: "I ask you to join me in my prayer for the victims of this calamity and urge all of you to ask the Lord fervently to grant the thirsty Earth the coolness of rain." "Vast fires have broken out these days in several European nations, with particular intensity in Portugal, causing deaths and enormous damage to the environment." "This is a worrying emergency which, fuelled by persistent drought but also by human responsibility, is threatening the environmental patrimony, which is a precious good for all humanity," he said. Fires are currently raging in Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Greece, the Netherlands, Italy, and France.