Pope Francis has called for prayers for his upcoming visit to Sweden this week and for those affected by the strong earthquake in Central Italy this morning.
During his weekly Angelus Address, the Pope reminded those in St. Peter’s Square that he will visit the southern Swedish cities of Malmö and Lund, Oct. 31-Nov. 1. This trip marks Pope Francis’ 17th Apostolic Visit abroad and his 26th nation visited.
“In the next two days,” Francis said, “I will undertake an Apostolic Journey to Sweden, on the occasion of the commemoration of the Reformation, which will see Catholics and Lutherans gathered together in remembrance and prayer.”
“I ask you all to pray so that this journey is a new stage in the journey of fraternity toward full communion.”
Also, after reciting the midday prayer, the Pope prayed for those affected by the strong, measured 6.6, earthquake that struck near the Umbrian city of Norcia in Central Italy this morning, at about 7:40 am local time.
Though in a statement, the Monks of Norcia noted they are fine, the basilica situated the birthplace of St. Benedict, along with many other buildings, were destroyed. This morning’s earthquake, considered to be the strongest in Italy in at least three decades, has wounded about 20 people, but no one was seriously hurt. Many locals had already left the town following the quakes that have shaked Norcia since Aug. 24. The shock was felt in Rome.
Pope Francis paid a surprise visit to Amatrice, greatly destroyed by the Aug.24 earthquake, on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi on Oct. 4.
“I express my closeness to the populations of Central Italy affected by the earthquake,” the Pope said today. “There was also a strong tremor this morning. I pray for the wounded and for the families that have suffered great damages, as well as for the personnel involved in rescue and assistance.”
“May the Risen Lord give them strength and may Our Lady protect them.”
As usual, Pope Francis concluded, asking those present to pray for him, but in addition to wishing the faithful a good lunch and good Sunday, he also wished them a Happy All Saints Day.
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