Pope Francis on Wednesday called Bishop Mark Seitz of the Diocese of El Paso, Texas, after the bishop joined a demonstration against racial discrimination to pray for George Floyd.
Seitz told local news website El Paso Matters that he received the two- to three-minute call from Pope Francis on the morning of June 3.
They spoke in Spanish, Seitz said, noting that Francis “said he wanted to congratulate me.”
“I expressed to the Holy Father that I felt it was imperative to show our solidarity to those who are suffering,” the bishop added.
Floyd was killed on May 25 during an arrest by Minneapolis police. He was arrested for attempting to use a counterfeit $20 bill. Footage of the incident circulated widely on the internet. It showed Floyd subdued and laying on his stomach, saying repeatedly, “I cannot breathe,” and groaning as a police officer knelt on his neck for almost eight minutes, while other officers stood nearby and watched.
Floyd was taken to a local hospital, where he died. His death has spurred widespread protests, which were followed by looting and riots in numerous cities.
Pope Francis called Gómez on Wednesday, June 3 to convey his prayers and solidarity for Americans during the period of national unrest.
“The Holy Father said he was praying, especially for Archbishop Bernard Hebda and the local Church in Minneapolis-St Paul,” Gómez wrote in a June 3 letter to bishops obtained by CNA.
“He thanked the bishops for the pastoral tone of the Church’s response to the demonstrations across the country in our statements and actions since the death of George Floyd. He assured us of his continued prayers and closeness in the days and weeks ahead,” Gómez added.