Pope Francis Blesses Picture of Sisters Killed in Md. Mansion Fi - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Pope Francis Blesses Picture of Sisters Killed in Md. Mansion Fire

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Photo Courtesy: Daniel Ibanez/CNA Photo Courtesy: Daniel Ibanez/CNA

ROME (AP/WBOC) - Pope Francis has blessed the photo of sisters killed in a fire with their cousins and grandparents at an Annapolis mansion.

The Catholic News Agency reports that the photo of 8-year-old Lexi Boone and her 7-year-old sister, Katie, will be delivered to their parents on Mother's Day with a figurine of Jesus standing with two children that was also blessed.

The news agency reports that Pope Francis blessed the items after reading a letter from the Rev. Aaron Qureshi.

“The Holy Father read the story about what happened and he was very moved by it. He prayed for the family and for the girls, and in fact he even put his hand on their picture as a sign of his affection for them,” Father Qureshi said.

Fr. Qureshi wrote the letter at the request of a friend who is close to the family of the deceased.

“One of the things about Pope Francis has been that he is a Pope who speaks about mercy all the time,” Fr. Qureshi noted, saying that even amid life's tragedies we can be assured that “God is reaching out in mercy toward us.”

In reference to the figurine of Jesus Pope Francis also blessed, Fr. Qureshi noted that it is made from olive wood, like many works that come from the Holy Land.

“Jesus, our Lord, was a carpenter himself, so I found this statue of Jesus embracing the children, and I thought this would be an appropriate gift for the parents who lost their children,” he said.

The sisters were killed with their cousins, 8-year-old Charlotte and 6-year-old Wesley Boone, and their grandparents, Don and Sandra Pyle, in a fire that started after an electric spark spread to a 15-foot Christmas tree. The fire destroyed the waterfront home.

Medical reports say the six died from smoke inhalation and burns.

Lexi and Katie are survived by their parents, Randy, 38, and Stacey, 34, who also have an infant son that was at home with them the night of the fire.

Lexi had been preparing to make her first communion this spring.

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