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Pope Francis blesses and comforts parents of two sisters killed in Rome

Pope Audience Paul VI HALL

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Ary Waldir Ramos Diaz - published on 02/02/22

The family’s sorrow has touched and been shared by a large part of the Latin American community.

Lorena and Antonella Flores Cheves, ages 19 and 23, died in Rome after a car crash on December 19, 2021. Pope Francis learned the news of the tragic accident and comforted the young women’s parents after the general audience on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican. 

“The pope blessed the photos of our daughters. They had a car accident a month ago, exactly today,” Luis Flores told Aleteia after the meeting, describing that special moment he and his wife had just experienced. 

Flores, a journalist and a respected member of the Bolivian community in Rome, said that he saw emotion and closeness in the Pope’s eyes. 

“He dedicated time to help us find peace and resignation with the strength of understanding, and he expects us to give our maximum effort to honor the memory of our daughters.”

Lorena and Antonella’s father appreciated that the pope spoke today of God as having a merciful gaze, especially towards people who suffer. 

Yet, it feels to him as if that message is “in contrast with our life, because we’ve given everything for our daughters and now we can no longer enjoy their lives because they’ve left us very young, 19 and 23 years old. It’s something that I’ll never be able to understand,” says Flores, still deep in mourning. The family’s sorrow has touched and been shared by a large part of the Latin American community in Rome.

That same day, the pope also reflected on St. Joseph as a “father in tenderness,” a “just” man who influenced Jesus’ education (Lk 2:52).

Moreover, the Pontiff insisted that Jesus often used the word “father” to speak of God and the tenderness with which he loves us. “And it is beautiful to think that the first to transmit this reality to Jesus was Joseph, who loved him with the heart of a father.”

Pope Francis
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