Prayers and messages of support after Texas plant explosion

AP
Mourners at a service at St Mary's Church of the Assumption following an explosion at the West Fertiliser Company plant in West, Texas

Christians have been praying and providing practical and emotional support to the community of West, Texas, following a deadly explosion at a fertiliser plant this week. 

The death toll from Wednesday's explosion in West, Texas, stood at 14 on Friday as rescuers continued to search through the debris. Around 200 people were injured.

Pope Francis expressed his "heartfelt condolences" in a message to the families of those who died in the explosion.

The Pope's message was sent on his behalf by Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to Bishop Joe Vàsquez of Austin, Texas.

In it, the Pope said he was "saddened" by the destruction caused by the explosion, which damaged dozens of homes.

He gave assurances of his prayers for victims and "those who mourn", as well as those who "generously aid in the continuing work of relief".

The Salvation Army has stationed teams in and around in West to provide refreshment and emotional and spiritual care to survivors and first responders.

It said: "Please join in our prayers to bring healing to the families and community in West, Texas."

The St Mary's Church of the Assumption in West, Texas, is holding several prayer services for the community.  

A non-denominational service and candlelight vigil held at the church on Thursday was attended by several hundred people.  

On Sunday, it is opening its church hall for a community lunch and on Monday it will be leading local school students in prayer.

It has released this Prayer for West:
Behold me, my beloved Jesus,
 weighed down under the burden of my trials and sufferings,
 I cast myself at Your feet,
 that You may renew my strength and my courage,
 while I rest here in Your Presence.
 Permit me to lay down my cross in Your Sacred Heart,
 for only Your infinite goodness can sustain me;
 only Your love can help me bear my cross;
 only Your powerful hand can lighten its weight.
 O Divine King, Jesus,
 whose heart is so compassionate to the afflicted,
 I wish to live in You;
 suffer and die in You.
 During my life be to me my model and my support;
 At the hour of my death,
 be my hope and my refuge.
 Amen.

The Anglican Church in North America has published this special prayer following the explosion:

Lord, we pray for those who have been devastated by recent tragedies. We remember those who have lost their lives so suddenly. We hold in our hearts the families forever changed by grief and loss. Bring them consolation and comfort. Surround them with our prayers for strength. Bless those who have survived and heal their memories of trauma and devastation. May they have the courage to face the days ahead.  Help us to respond with generosity in prayer, in assistance, and in comfort to the best of our abilities. Keep our hearts focused on the needs of all the community; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

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