Following his afternoon meeting with the diocesan priests, men and women religious, and seminarians in the Seminary Chapel, during his pastoral day visit today, April 2, 2017, to the northern Italian city of Carpi, the Pope briefly stopped at the Cathedral and he transferred by car to Mirandola.
At 4:30 p.m., Pope Francis visited the Cathedral of Mirandola.
The Holy Father stopped in the square in front of the entrance to the Cathedral, still unusable after the earthquake there in May of 2012. In the area adjacent to the Parish of San Giacomo Roncole of Mirandola, Francis offered a floral tribute to the monument in remembrance of the victims of the earthquake.
At 5:30 p.m., the Pope and organizers said farewell and his helicopter took off from the sports field adjacent to the Parish of San Giacomo Roncole. At about 7 p.m., he will arrive at the Vatican heliport.
Below is a working translation of the word’s Pope Francis said to the people of Mirandola in front of the Duomo, some of whom had lost relatives in the 2012 earthquake:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In this city of yours, which still bears visible signs of such a ‘test’, I want to embrace you and the people of other areas struck by the earthquake on May 2012. My venerable Predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, a few weeks after the event, went to this territory to bring solidarity and encouragement to its people and the entire ecclesial community. Today, I am among you to strengthen the affection of the whole Church, and to witness to each of you, my closeness and my encouragement for the journey of rebuilding, still underway. I address a cordial greeting to the Bishop of this Diocese, Monsignor Francesco Cavina, the parish and other priests, the mayor and other authorities. I renew my appreciation to the civilian defense, the volunteers and all who were involved, at different levels, in the restoration activities of the structures and the revival of community life.
I know how the earthquake has affected the human and cultural heritage of this land of yours. I think of the inconvenience you have suffered: the wounds to the houses, productive activities, churches and other monuments, rich in history and art and symbols of spirituality and civilization of a people. But I think especially of the inner wounds: the suffering of those who lost their loved ones … In the days following the earthquake, a great admiration has grown through the witness of dignity and resourcefulness you have showed. You have endeavored to deal with the precarious situation caused by the earthquake, recognizing and accepting the painful events, with an evangelical spirit, keeping in mind always the mysterious presence of a Father Who is always loving, even in the toughest tests.
My wish is that you are never less strong, hopeful, or the qualities of industriousness that will set you apart. Stay balanced. Keep your intent to not give in to discouragement for the difficulties that still remain. Indeed, much has been done in the work of reconstruction, but it is more important than ever to also recover historical centers: they are places of historical memory and are essential areas of social and ecclesial life. I am sure you will not lack the good will of all parties involved, to ensure a rapid implementation of these necessary works for the common good.
In front of your cathedral, a symbol of faith and this area’s tradition, and seriously damaged by the earthquake, I raise with you to the Lord fervent prayers for the victims of the earthquake, for their families and for those who are still living in precarious situations. May the Lord make you each feel His support!
Dear brothers and sisters, in two weeks, we will celebrate the Easter of Resurrection. May the strength of the Risen Lord sustain your commitment to complete the reconstruction and animate your hope. May the Virgin Maria and your patron saints obtain from the Lord strength for your people; giving light and strength to the minds and hearts […] Thank you and I cordially impart my blessing to you and to the entire population gathered here.[Original Text: Italian] [Working Translation of Pope’s Prepared Words by Deborah Castellano Lubov]