Pope Francis has telephoned leaders of the terror-stricken French city of Nice, asking what he could do to help in the wake of last week’s attack which left 84 people dead and scores wounded.
Pope Francis made his call out of the blue on Sunday evening to Paolo Celi, head of "Amitié France-Italie", a national association for Italians living in France, and to Christian Estrosi, mayor of Nice.
Celi told Vatican Radio that the Pope called at about 7pm Sunday evening “apologizing because he doesn’t speak French very well”.
“The first thing he said to me was, ‘What can I do for you?'” Celi said, recalling the conversation before he connected Francis to Estrosi.
Celi said the Pope promised to meet “as soon as possible” with the families of the victims.
But, he specified, the date is yet to be set.
Speaking to Vatican Radio Estrosi said the Holy Father’s gesture has restored in him the energy he needs to go forward in this situation.
Estrosi also said the Pope’s telephone call has been of comfort to thousands of people who are supporting the families of the victims.
“The image of all the flowers, the letters, the toys that have been put on the Promenade to pay tribute to the victims is an image that no one will be able to forget, but the Pope’s words and the comfort he brings alleviates this terrible memory and gives strength and hope to all” he said.