Pope again prays for Maui victims, makes appeal for migration reform
August 14, 2023 • Diocese of St. Augustine

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — After leading the recitation of the Angelus prayer Aug. 13, Pope Francis again assured the people of Hawaii of his prayers. With some 15,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray with him, the pope said he was praying “for the victims of the fires that have devastated the Hawaiian island of Maui.” The official death toll from the fires had risen to 96 Aug. 13 and the number was expected to increase as the search through burned out rubble continued. In his public prayers and appeals after reciting the Angelus, Pope Francis also made a strong appeal for serious efforts at immigration reform after 41 migrants were reported to have drowned in the Mediterranean in early August. “Another tragic shipwreck happened a few days ago in the Mediterranean — 41 people lost their lives,” the pope said. “I have prayed for them.” Four migrants from Africa were rescued by a merchant ship and brought to the Italian island of Lampedusa Aug. 9. They said they were on a boat carrying 45 people that capsized off the coast of Tunisia.