Pope to Italian Earthquake Survivors: ‘Despite Scars, Still Dream’

On Eve of Epiphany, Pope Speaks From the Heart

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CTV Screenshot

Despite your scars, have the courage to dream again.
This morning, on the Vigil of Epiphany, Pope Francis gave this encouragement when meeting with victims of the earthquakes that struck Central Italy in the course of the past year. The encounter took place at 11:30 a.m. in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall and can be viewed here, via CTV.

According to Vatican Radio, some 800 people from the diocese, along with their archbishop and pastors, and civil authorities leading rebuilding efforts, took part in the audience. In the name of all those present, the pastor of the Abbey of S. Eutizio near the town of Preci addressed the Pope.

The Holy Father listened attentively to the testimonies of the local priest and a survivor, and then spoke off the cuff, saying that it would have been inappropriate to have prepared a text, rather than speak from the heart.

Acknowledging their wounds and continued suffering, the Pontiff recognized the need to cry together. For reconstructing, the Pope stressed how important it is to remain close to one another, share, and have a spirit of solidarity.

Francis also praised those physicians, support, and everyone who has offered help to those in need, even often pulling survivors from the rubble.

The Aug. 24 earthquake that struck near the Italian hill town of Amatrice claimed nearly 300 lives. About two months later, various quakes hit the same region, including a 6.6-magnitude earthquake on Oct. 30, the largest to have hit Italy in more than 30 years. While only two died in the October quakes, a number of towns, including Norcia, the birthplace of Sts. Benedict and Scholastica, suffered serious damage.

Next Sunday, Archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, will celebrate Mass for earthquake victims in the village of San Pellegrino di Norcia.

On his feast day, Oct. 4, Pope Francis had made a surprise visit to Amatrice, to just be there with the people as a priest and did not give a discourse.

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On the NET:
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Translation of Pope’s Address: to be made available after Vatican has released final text

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