Pope Francis has once again expressed his condolences and spiritual support to all of the victims and survivors in the wake of the destructive earthquake that has, so far, claimed the lives of at least 267 people and wounded over 400.
"I also express my condolences to those who have lost loved ones, and my spiritual support to those who are anxious and afraid. Hearing the mayor of Amatrice say that the town no longer exists, and learning that there are children among the dead, I am deeply saddened.”
On Thursday, Pope Francis held a Holy Mass at Casa Santa Marta and invited a group of nuns from the monastery of Poor Clares of Santa Maria di Vallegloria in Umbria. The sisters in this community were hit hard by an earthquake in 1997 and were forced to live in temporary housing for 14 years. During the mass, the pope encouraged the sisters to instill hope and share the word of Christ with others both through prayer and with their lives.
In addition to praying for those who are suffering, he also thanked all personnel who are involved in the rescue process.
"And thanking all the volunteer and rescue personnel who are assisting these people, I ask you to join me in praying to the Lord Jesus, Who is always moved by compassion before the reality of human suffering, that He may console the broken hearted, and through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, bring them peace. With Jesus let our hearts be moved with compassion.”
Hundreds of aftershocks have hindered the efforts of more than 5,000 rescuers, including the Vatican firefighters, who have been tirelessly searching to find any sign of life among the debris. Hope and prayer are still the cornerstones of spiritual assistance given to victims, as the firefighters’ have also been distributing rosaries and holy images blessed by Pope Francis.
Vatican medical personnel are also on-call and they are ready to assist in the earthquake zone as needed.