THE Bishop in Europe, Dr Robert Innes, has added his prayers to
those of Christians across Europe for those who were killed when
their plane crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday.
Bishop Innes said in a statement on Tuesday that he was "deeply
saddened" to hear of the loss of the Germanwings Airbus A320, in
which 150 people are believed to have died, including three from
"It is particularly distressing that many of those who lost
their lives were young people," Bishop Innes said. "We pray for
God's peace and comfort for those who grieve. We are aware that
their lives have been changed for ever by what has happened."
The Bishop was in an interfaith meeting at the European
Parliament when he was told of the news, and said that the meeting
began with a minute's silence in memory of those who died.
It is not yet clear what caused the crash, but it has been
revealed that the pilots put the aeroplane, en route from
Barcelona to Dusseldorf, into an eight-minute rapid descent before
the crash. Investigators have found the flight recorder among the
wreckage, but it is badly damaged.
In a message to the Bishop of the region where the plane
crashed, the Pope said that he was joining the grieving of the
families of those who died, and was praying for the victims.
"Having learned of the tragic plane crash in the region of Digne,
which caused many casualties, including many children, His Holiness
Pope Francis joins in the grief of the families, expressing his
closeness to them in sorrow," the message read. "He expresses his
deep sympathy for all those touched by this tragedy."
A group of 16 German schoolchildren from one class in the town
of Haltern am See, believed to be on a school trip, were passengers
on the plane when it went down over the French Alps. A Roman
Catholic church in Haltern Am See was left open all night for
mourners to come and pay their respects, light candles, or sign a
book of condolence.
The World Council of Churches and the Conference of European
Churches have both issued statements expressing their sadness at
the disaster, and calling for Christians to pray for the victims
and their families.
Attempts to recover the bodies, and investigate why the plane
came down, were continuing as the Church Times went to
press, but were hampered by a lack of road access to the site.