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Pope thanks people for prayers for family killed and hurt in auto accident

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The Holy See Press Office revealed yesterday that the Holy Father’s nephew, Emanuel Horatio Bergoglio, who is 38 years old, was in a severe automobile accident yesterday on his way home from a visit with family. While Horatio remains in the hospital in critical condition, his wife Valeria Carmona died in the crash. Also departing from this earthly life were the couple’s two children, Jose, 2, and Antonio, who was eight months old, the Holy Father’s great nephews. Horatio is the son of the Pope’s late brother, Alberto. “The Pope was informed of the tragic accident in Argentina involving some of his family, and is profoundly saddened,” Father Frederico Lombardi, Press Secretary for the Holy See, said yesterday. “He calls upon all who share in his grief to be united with him in prayer.”

During his Wednesday General Audience today, Pope Francis thanked pilgrims for their prayers for his nephew, and the repose of the souls of his little great nephews. The Pontiff couldn’t help but reminisce about his family. "The pope has a family, too,” reminded Francis. “We were five siblings, and I have 16 nieces and nephews. One of these nephews was in an accident. His wife died along with his two small children -- one who was 2 years old and the other several months." The Holy Father said that his nephew Emanuel Horatio is alive but he "is in critical condition right now. I thank you, I thank you very much, for your condolences and prayers."

Members of the Holy Father’s favorite soccer football team, San Lorenzo, visited the Vatican today to show the Pope the trophy that they recently won after capturing the Copa Libertadores, the championship in Latin American futbol. Members of the Athletic Club presented the Pope with an exact replica of the championship trophy, which lifted his spirits. "San Lorenzo is the team my whole family cheered for," the Holy Father remembered. "As children we went, even mom went to their matches. I remember as if it were today the 1946 season when San Lorenzo had a brilliant team and were champions.”

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