Pope Francis offers prayers for victims in Wisconsin parade tragedy

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Pope Francis greets Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee during a meeting with U.S. bishops from Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin making their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican Dec. 12, 2019. The bishops were making their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses to the pope and Vatican officials. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

ROME — Pope Francis on Nov. 23 offered his prayers and condolences to the grief-stricken community of Waukesha, Wisconsin, where an SUV broke through a barricade at a local Christmas parade on Nov. 21, killing five individuals and injuring more than 40 others. 

In a telegram sent by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's secretary of state, to Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the pope expressed his "spiritual closeness" to those suffering. 

"He commends the souls of those who died to almighty God's loving mercy and implores the divine gifts of healing and consolation upon the injured and bereaved," the message stated.

"He joins you in asking the Lord to bestow upon everyone the spiritual strength which triumphs over violence and overcomes evil with good," it continued. 

Among those injured were a Catholic priest, parishioners and Catholic school children.

“When confronted with the shock and the grief encountered by our brothers and sisters in Waukesha, it is now important for us to turn to our faith, which offers us God’s loving presence and consolation,” said Listecki in an earlier statement on Nov. 21. 

Police have identified 39-year-old Darrell Brooks as the driver of the vehicle. According to reports, Brooks has a history of arrests and was potentially fleeing the police following a domestic dispute involving a knife. He is expected to appear in court on Nov. 23. 

Christopher White

Christopher White is the Vatican correspondent for NCR. His email address is cwhite@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @CWWhiteNCR.

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