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Giuseppe Petrocchi: cardinal from areas devastated by earthquakes

For Giuseppe Petrocchi, the announcement of his naming as cardinal was completely unexpected. He admits he doesn't know why Pope Francis chose him, though he had a feeling.

Archbishop of L'Aquila (Italy)

“I ministered the Confirmation of a young group. Then an old man came up to me full of excitement. He told me he heard my name on the television, the pope said it among the names of the 14 new cardinals. I thought he was joking because I didn't know anything, so I went along with the joke.”

Petrocchi is very engaged in areas enduring heartbreaking suffering in the aftermath of earthquakes between 2009 and 2016 that took the lives of more than 600 Italians. 

The cardinal was born in Ascoli, the burial site of victims of the devastating Amatrice earthquake. He's currently the bishop of L'Aquila, which is still recovering from the worst earthquake to hit the country in recent years, one that left 300 dead. 

Contact with those affected has taught him an important tool that he will now bring to the Curia: listening.

Archbishop of L'Aquila (Italy)
“Trying to listen better, in a way that allows them to say what's happening. This helps one better understand the significance of each event. I think we need the Samaritan's sensitivity. This doesn't only involve doing things for others, but handling the other person's situation.”

Perhaps Pope Francis chose him because their ways of thinking are perfectly connected, as the Holy Father demonstrated his closeness to Italians' suffering when unexpected tragedy hit home. He did so before those affected in Carpi and Amatrice. 

“Do not yield to useless logic and inconclusive fear, resigned to repeat that everything is wrong and nothing is like it used to be.”

“Begin again, yes, but begin again without having lost the ability to dream. Dream of recovering and have the audacity to dream once more.”

Archbishop Giuseppe Petrocchi is now a cardinal and arrives in Rome with a suitcase full of stories – those of people trying to rebuild their lives following the pain. In this way, he intends to tirelessly exemplify his episcopal motto: “Charity before anything.”