Pope Francis meets with pilgrims from Concesio and Sotto il Monte on the 60th anniversary of the death of Pope John XXIII and the election of Paul VI in St. Peter s Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday, June 3, 2023. AP
The pontiff said he was "deeply saddened" by the "immense loss of life" caused by Friday's three-train collision in Odisha state, India's deadliest rail accident in more than 20 years.
"Entrusting the souls of the deceased to the loving mercy of the Almighty, (Pope Francis) sends heartfelt condolences to those who mourn their loss," senior Vatican cardinal Pietro Parolin said in a telegram published by the Holy See.
"His Holiness likewise offers prayers for the many injured and for the efforts of the emergency service personnel," said the telegram, which was addressed to the apostolic nuncio in India, Leopoldo Girelli.
Disaster struck when an express train running north to Kolkata derailed, falling onto the adjacent southbound track.
Minutes later, another express train smashed into the wreckage and some of its coaches collided with a goods train halted nearby.