VATICAN CITY — Following last night’s devastating 6.2 earthquake that struck Central Italy, Pope Francis today set aside his prepared Wednesday catechesis, inviting the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the general audience to recite the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.
Here below we publish the official English text of the Pope’s words to pilgrims, especially the Italian people, before leading the Rosary.
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 the news of the earthquake that struck central Italy, 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 affected. 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 Accumoli, Amatrice, and beyond, in the Dioceses of Rieti, Ascoli Piceno, and all the people of Lazio, Umbria and le Marche, of the prayer and close solidarity of the entire Church who in these moments extends her maternal love. We too present in this square offer you our embrace.
In 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, by the intercession of the Virgin Mary, bring them peace.
With Jesus let our hearts be moved with compassion.
And so we will postpone this week’s Catechesis to next Wednesday. I invite you to pray with me a part of the Holy Rosary, the Sorrowful Mysteries…