"He expresses his deep sympathy for all those touched by this tragedy, as well as for the rescue workers working in difficult conditions," reads a Tuesday telegram from Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. A memorial mass for all the victims was also held on Tuesday.
A hundred and fifty people "including many children," the telegram notes, appear to have been killed when a Germanwings A320 Airbus crashed in a snowy region of the French Alps. More than a dozen passengers were German school children returning from an exchange-program trip in Spain.
The full statement, via Vatican Radio, reads:
"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. He prays for peace for the deceased, entrusting them to the mercy of God that He might welcome them into His dwelling place of peace and light. He expresses his deep sympathy for all those touched by this tragedy, as well as for the rescue workers working in difficult conditions. The Holy Father asks the Lord to give strength and consolation to all, and, as a comfort, he invokes upon them the abundance of divine Blessings."