In addition to the earthquake that devastated parts of central Italy early this morning, there are reports coming in from Burma of a magnitude 6.8 earthquake that struck that nation’s central region. Pray for those people and all rescuers as well.
I have been following the situation in Italy and present the following reports from the Vatican, the Benedictine Monks of Norcia, Caritas and the U.S. Embassy in Italy. I have been posting news and updates on my Facebook page since I got up this morning, hours after I was awakened by my bed shaking at 3:35 am. Words fail me to describe the total devastation but I am sure you have been viewing images on television.
Heartfelt thanks for all your wonderful messages of concern for me and of prayers and condolences for everyone affected by this gigantic tragedy.
Those of you who have asked how to help: there is information on how to do this from Caritas (see story below).
POPE AND FAITHFUL PRAY ROSARY FOR EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS
(Vatican Radio) In the wake of the powerful earthquake that struck central Italy on Wednesday, Pope Francis at the General Audience postponed his prepared catechesis, and led the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square in the recitation of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary.
The Holy Father expressed his “heartfelt sorrow and spiritual closeness” to all those affected by the earthquake and its aftershocks. He said he was deeply saddened upon learning several children were among the dead, and of hearing of the total destruction of the town of Amatrice.
Here are his remarks:
“I had prepared the catechesis for today, as for all Wednesdays during this year of mercy, focusing on the closeness of Jesus. However on hearing of the news of the earthquake that has struck central Italy, and which has devastated entire areas and left many wounded, I cannot fail to express my heartfelt sorrow and spiritual closeness to all those present in the zones afflicted.
“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.
“For this reason, I want to assure all the people of Accumuli, Amatrice, the Diocese of Rieti, Ascoli Piceno, and all the people of Lazio, Umbria, and Le Marche, of the prayers and close solidarity of the entire Church, who in these moments extends her merciful love, as well as the concern of all of us here in the Piazza.
“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.
“So we will postpone, then, this week’s catechesis until next Wednesday, and I invite you to pray with me a part of the holy Rosary, the sorrowful mysteries.”
NEWS FROM THE BENEDICTINE MONKS IN NORCIA
Many of you have by now heard of the earthquake that struck us during the night. The quake was a powerful one with a magnitude of 6.2. We’ve taken the past few hours to assess the situation.
First: We are OK. We are alive, and there are no serious injuries to report. Sadly, there are many injuries to report among the people of the region, especially those in small mountain villages. Please pray for them. We monks will do what we can to contribute here on the ground, but we’ll need your spiritual support in a special way during this period.
Second: We, as many others in Norcia and surrounding areas, suffered a lot of damage to our buildings and especially to our basilica. It will take some time to assess the extent of the damage, but it is very sad to see the many beautiful restorations we’ve made to St. Benedict’s birthplace reduced, in a moment, to disrepair.
Click here for a virtual tour of the basilica (pre-earthquake) https://en.nursia.org/visit/#acc_360_tour
Third: What can you do? Please, pray for us, for those who have lost their lives, who have lost someone they love, who have lost their homes and livelihoods. We will need your help, as always but now in a special way, to start the project of rebuilding. Please consider making a gift to help us get started.
The Monks of Norcia
CARITAS ITALIANA STEPS INTO HIGH GEAR
A strong earthquake struck central Italy early on 24 August, causing severe destruction to buildings and the loss of life. The magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck around the Rieti region. The worst hit towns were Amatrice and Accumoli, with the epicentre in Norcia.
“The situation is terrible,” said Bishop Giovanni D’Ercole of Ascoli Piceno, who arrived a few minutes after the first quake in the town of Pescara del Tronto. “As dawn broke, I could see the area had been destroyed. We are already working with Caritas to get the right aid to the people.”
The Italian Catholic Church has immediately made available €1 million in response to the earthquake and is launching a nationwide parish appeal to support Caritas Italy relief efforts.
“We are gathered in prayer with those caught in this tragic event,” said the Italian bishops in a statement, inviting all to help alleviate the difficult conditions people in the affected areas will face in the coming days, weeks and months.
Caritas volunteers in Rieti have already started to deliver food and basic necessities and Caritas is organising further support, while the Italian Civil Protection are looking for survivors under the rubble.
n 2015, Caritas Rieti helped train migrants and refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Congo, Syria, Senegal, Somalia, Rwanda, Mali and Ghana to work with the Italian Civil Protection in emergency response.
“Caritas and parish volunteers, priests and bishops are concretely helping with the delivery of aid,” said Caritas Italy’s Paolo Beccegato. “We’re in constant communication with them to organise relief efforts on the ground.”
Donations can be sent to: Caritas Italiana, Via Aurelia 796 – 00165 Roma, using the current account n. 347013 or by bank transfer to Banca Popolare Etica, Via Parigi 17, Roma. Iban: IT 29 U 05018 03200 000000011113. Please specify “Colletta terremoto centro Italia”.
Other ways include:
– Banca Prossima, piazza della Libertà 13, Roma – Iban: IT 06 A 03359 01600 100000012474
– Banco Posta, viale Europa 175, Roma – Iban: IT91 P076 0103 2000 0000 0347 013
– UniCredit, via Taranto 49, Roma – Iban: IT 88 U 02008 05206 000011063119.
Earthquakes are a constant threat to communities living in the Apennine mountains in Italy. An earthquake in Abruzzo left almost 300 people dead and tens of thousands homeless when it struck on 6 April 2009. In the aftermath of that quake, the diocesan Caritas pitched in immediately to provide the people of Aquila with food, clothes and other essentials. Following the initial emergency, Caritas Italy turned its focus to rebuilding communities by providing them with homes and also spaces where they could meet and learn.
U.S. EMBASSY ROME ISSUES ALERT
U. S. Embassy Rome, Italy – Italy Earthquake – August 24, 2016
(From an email I received) The U.S. Mission to Italy is assisting Americans in central Italy where a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck communities today at approximately 03:36AM. Reports by Italian media and the Civil Protection Agency note that many roads are blocked in these regions at this time, especially in more remote areas. The U.S. Embassy has restricted all but essential official travel to these regions and recommends that U.S. citizens defer travel in these areas as well. Americans affected by the earthquakes who require assistance, or persons with information or questions about Americans in the affected areas, may call the U.S. Embassy’s earthquake response center at 06-4674 2944, or contact the center by email at USCitizensRome@state.gov.