By Courtney Grogan
Pope Francis prayed Sunday for the victims of the airstrike that hit a migrant detention center in Libya, and called upon the international community to condemn the violence.
“I invite you to pray for the poor defenseless people killed or wounded by the airstrike,” Pope Francis said in his Angelus address July 7.
“The international community cannot tolerate such serious facts,” the pope said.
At least 53 people died and more than 130 others were injured in the attack July 3 on the Tajoura refugee camp and detention center east of Tripoli.
“I pray for the victims: the God of peace welcomes the dead to himself and supports the wounded,” Francis said.
There are an estimated 3,300 people held in migrant detention centers around Tripoli, where armed conflict has been ongoing since the Libyan National Army led by Gen. Khalifa Haftar launched an attack on the Libyan capital in April.
“I hope that the humanitarian corridors for the most needy migrants will be organized in a concerted and extended way,” the pope said.
The United Nations Security Council called for a cease-fire in Tripoli on July 5 following the deadly attack. Others have been calling upon the Libyan government to close their migrant detention centers.
On July 8, Pope Francis will celebrate a Mass for refugees and migrants in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Mass marks the sixth anniversary of the pope’s trip to Lampedusa, an island that serves as the first destination for many African migrants en route to Europe.
In his Angelus address, Pope Francis also prayed for victims of violence in Afghanistan, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.
“Our prayer should not be limited only to our needs and our necessities: a prayer is truly Christian if it also has a universal dimension,” the pope said.
“Each of us, here in the piazza, can think of the name they received on their baptism day, the name is ‘written in heaven,’ in the heart of God the Father,” Pope Francis said. “It is the joy of this gift that makes every disciple a missionary, one who walks in the company of the Lord Jesus, who learns from Him to spend himself without reserve for others.”