The Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI is deeply saddened about the situation in the U.S. Gulf Coast and is praying for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

In a telegram, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano said the pontiff is praying for all those affected by the tragedy.

The telegram says Pope Benedict is also praying for the rescue workers and those helping the victims, and encouraging them to continue their efforts to bring relief and support.

Some information for this report provided by AP.