Pope Asks Nation to Help Town Rebuild

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 3, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II is calling on all Italian citizens to help the town of San Giuliano di Puglia reconstruct in the wake of Thursday’s earthquake that killed 29, including 26 children.

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In his message read at today’s funeral rites, the Pope also prayed that God will infuse “serenity” in the south-central Italian community.

The 26 children died when their school building in the Molise region collapsed. In all his public appearances over the past three days, the Pope has asked for prayers for the children, especially for their families and loved ones, and appealed for the solidarity of the Church and the country.

On Friday, the feast of All Saints, the Pope made his customary visit to the Grottos of the Vatican Basilica, where numerous Bishops of Rome are buried, and spent some time in prayer.

“In these Vatican Grottos,” he said, “we entrust to the mercy of the Father all the victims of the earthquake that struck the south of Italy, in particular, the numerous children who lost their lives, their parents and their families.”

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