Pope Francis prayed Sunday for the victims of Hurricane Otto, the late-season storm that killed nine and left thousands homeless in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Francis offered his blessings during his regular Sunday greeting to the pilgrims in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican.
He also prayed for flood victims in northern Italy.
"It always strikes us to think of the hours preceding a great calamity - all are tranquil, doing the same things without knowing their life is about to be turned upside down. The Gospel certainly does not wish to scare us, but to open our horizon to another dimension."
In his first Advent message of the season, Francis urged his followers not to be dominated by and have great concerns for material things. Advent is the four Sundays that lead up to Christmas in the Christian calendar.
Hurricane Otto struck the Central American coast Thursday as a Category 2 storm, flooding towns and washing away thousands of homes in Nicaragua and Costa Rica before moving into the Pacific. At least nine people were killed in Costa Rica.
A magnitude 7 earthquake centered in El Salvador rocked the area while the storm raged, but no earthquake-related damage or injuries were reported.