L'Aquila Archbishop: Quake Reconstruction Delayed

Stresses Christian Hope for City’s Rebirth

Share this Entry

L’AQUILA, Italy, APRIL 8, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Two years after the April 6 earthquake that struck L’Aquila, leaving 309 dead and 1,600 wounded, the archbishop is reporting that reconstruction is still delayed in starting.

“The emergency period was managed quite well, whereas this other phase of the reconstruction is delayed in starting,” said Archbishop Giuseppe Molinari on Vatican Radio. “In recovering, we should start again!”

In memorial of the victims of that disaster, on Tuesday evening a torchlight procession was held, which left Battaglione Square and arrived in Duomo Square at 3:32 a.m., the hour in which the most violent tremor was felt. At that moment, 309 bells tolled, accompanying the reading of the names of the persons who remained crushed under the rubble.

On Wednesday, at the indication of Archbishop Molinari, beginning at 10:00 a.m. all the bells of the parishes of the archdiocese rang for a minute to remember the victims of the quake. At noon the archbishop of L’Aquila presided over a Mass for the dead in the basilica of Collemaggio.

The prelate told Vatican Radio: “We sought with simplicity, with humility to set our community on its feet again, because those of the historic center have lost the churches, the inhabitants.

“We tried to set it on its feet again, to make this community revive in the best possible way. We certainly still have the problem that, especially here in L’Aquila and in the periphery, places of worship, of association are lacking.”

However, the archbishop said he focused his latest pastoral letter on the theme of hope precisely “to invite everyone — at least Christians — not to lose hope, to be bearers of hope also for others, because this danger of a strong temptation against hope, the danger of discouragement, of giving up, of being blocked exists, unfortunately!”

In these two years, he continued, L’Aquila has been weighed down by “disagreements, opposition, delays, much absurd bureaucracy, above all many political divisions.”

He added that there is also at times “political hatred,” and “unfortunately at times one can feel this: Look, all these things — as Jesus said — come from the heart, from man’s heart, hence it is there that the decisive, radical and fundamental cure must take place.”

Constructive climate

Archbishop Molinari stated: “One should begin with Christians to create this new climate of relationship full of trust, of dialogue, this constructive climate, this seeking together to know and address the problems.

“No one can deny that the situation is complex, no one expects miraculous gestures, least of all from the administrators, from politics, from the authorities.”

He continued: “We know that the problems are many, great and complex; however, at least a sign must be given that the reconstruction is beginning!

“We hope it will begin because people are in need of these concrete signs of hope!”

Reflecting on the Lenten journey, the archbishop affirmed that it is precisely “Jesus’ Easter, with the mystery of death and resurrection, that the key is given to begin again and also to understand and to accept these enormous sufferings, to find in them also a meaning linking them precisely to the mystery of Jesus’ Easter.”

“Hence,” he said, “the wish I make for myself and for all Christians is that we find, precisely in faith in Christ dead and risen, the hope of which we are in need and which becomes strength to go forward, not only for us.”

The prelate noted, “If we Christians have this strength in our hearts, we are able to infect others with a hope that becomes also concrete action for our city, for our rebirth.”

Share this Entry

ZENIT Staff

Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation