Pope Francis Prays for Victims of Train Crash in India that Killed 275 People

Pope Francis prays at his Wednesday audience in St. Peter’s Square on April 12, 2023. | Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Pope Francis prayed Sunday for the victims of a train crash in India that killed at least 275 people.

“I am close to the injured and their families. May our heavenly Father welcome the souls of the deceased into his kingdom,” he said in his Angelus address on June 4.

Hundreds of people were injured in the crash in the Balasore district of Odisha state, India’s worst rail crash in over two decades, according to Reuters.

The crash was caused by an error in a passenger train’s electronic signaling system, which led it to change tracks and hit another train, which derailed. The two trains were carrying 2,296 people in total when they collided.

The pope also sent a condolence telegram to India’s apostolic nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli the day after the accident.


The telegram sent on the pope’s behalf by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said: "His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the immense loss of life caused by the train crash in Odisha State, and he assures all affected by this tragedy of his spiritual closeness.”

“Entrusting the souls of the deceased to the loving mercy of the Almighty, he sends heartfelt condolences to those who mourn their loss. His Holiness likewise offers prayers for the many injured and for the efforts of the emergency service personnel, and he invokes upon them the divine gifts of courage and consolation.”

Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.