MADRID – Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia presided Tuesday at a moving Mass at Madrid’s La Almudena cathedral to pay tribute to the almost 700 victims of last month’s earthquake in Ecuador.
The leaders of Spain’s three main opposition parties shared with Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena one of the two benches in the front rank of officials, to the right of the altar, near the one occupied by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and members of his Cabinet.
Felipe and Letizia presided at the service near the main altar, with diplomats from assorted countries seated to their left, while some 400 members of the large Ecuadorian community living in Spain followed the ceremony from the central nave, led by Ambassador Miguel Calahorrano.
Madrid Archbishop Carlos Osoro, who celebrated the Mass accompanied by Papal Nuncio Renzo Fratini, Archbishop of the Military Juan del Rio and Ecuadorian priests, conveyed to the victims’ families a message of hope and love and a call to remember that “evil never has the last word.”
Before the end of the ceremony, Osoro invited Calahorrano to address the faithful, before whom the ambassador thanked the monarchs and the Rajoy administration for the sensitivity they displayed after the quake as well as for the “enormous generosity and brotherhood of the Spanish people” for their material support and sending a group of emergency workers who helped rescue more than 100 people.