Pope Francis meets with the families of 21 fishermen who died at sea

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Pope Francis received the families of the 21 sailors who died on the Villa de Pitanxo, the Spanish fishing vessel that sank on February 15 off the coast of Canada. The families asked the Pope to support calls for an investigation into possible negligence that could have led to the deaths of their loved ones. 

We are a family of fishermen from Galicia. Thank you for your prayer for the 21 who died.

They say that seven months since the ship sank, the Spanish government is still not sharing information with them nor consulting them on how to proceed with the situation.

Spokesperson for the victims' families
Things happen in our families that we can't share, that we can't experience with that person who is gone. And you know you'll never be able to, and that is very hard for the families, but above all what is difficult for us is the governments passive stance. The government, which must guarantee justice for the 21 workers, well we see that they are not giving us explanations.

Spokesperson for the victims' families
If I had a message from President Sanchez's press office, I would say “Thank you, Mr. Sanchez, for receiving us,” and I wouldn't speak out anymore. But that's not the case. What do they want? That we forget? We will not forget! How can we forget a father, a son, a husband?

Despite their concerns, the families have found comfort in the Pope. When he learned of the shipwreck, he sent them a telegram to express his closeness. They say he is one of the few figures of authority who has shown concern for them. They shared a joke together after the Pope's general audience.

Spokesperson for the victims' families
We told him we are a family of fishermen, and Jesus was always with fishermen, and that you should also be close to fishermen as we are people of God.

And I said, “you are also a fisherman because although you do not fish for fish, Holy Father, you are a fisher of souls.” And he said “No, no, I am a fish.” “What do you mean a fish? How can you be a fish, Holy Father?” And he told me, “I am a fish because Jesus fished me first.”

These families' visit to Rome has helped them make their demands on a larger platform, and motivated them to continue in their search for answers. 


TR: Jm

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