Vatican City — Pope John Paul II was “deeply shocked” and “profoundly saddened” by the crash of an AirIndia jetliner with 329 people aboard, the Vatican said.

John Paul sent a condolence message Monday to Archbishop Simon Pimenta, president of India’s Catholic Bishops Conference. In it he sought “God’s gifts of comfornt, strength and peace” for families of the crash victims and “the entire Indian nation in this hour of trial.”

The AirIndia Boeing 747 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the Irish coast Sunday while on a flight from Canada to India. No one was believed to have survived.

“The Holy Father was deeply shocked to learn of the catastrophe involving an Air India aircraft with the consequent loss of all passengers and crew members,” the Vatican said.

“Profoundly saddended by the death of many innocent people, His Holiness commends the victims to Almighty God.” the message added.

The Vatican issued the text of the Pope’s message to Pimenta, which was written in English and signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Agaagtingn Casaroli.

Article extracted from this publication >>  June 28, 1985