In response to yesterday’s tragic jet crash in the Ukraine, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge released this statement:
“Please join me in remembering all those who were killed in the crash of the Malaysian Airlines jet yesterday in the Ukraine, as well as their families and all those in mourning. I ask that you remember this intention among your prayers.”
A Catholic News Service (CNS) report stated that, though exactly what happened to Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 remained unclear, Pope Francis also offered prayers for the 298 passengers and crew members who died when it came down in eastern Ukraine.
According to Australian news reports, CNS said, as many as 108 of those who died July 17 were on their way to Melbourne for the International AIDS Conference. Also killed was Sacred Heart Sister Philomene Tiernan, a member of the staff at Kincoppal-Rose Bay School, a Catholic girls' school in Sydney.
"The Holy Father, Francis, has learned with dismay of the tragedy of the Malaysian Airlines aircraft downed in east Ukraine, a region marked by high tensions," said a statement July 18 from the Vatican press office. "The Pope raises prayers for the numerous victims of the incident and for their relatives, and renews his heartfelt appeal to all parties in the conflict to seek peace and solutions through dialogue, in order to avoid further loss of innocent human lives."