Communion with our loved ones who have died "is more alive than ever," assures Pope Francis in city decimated by earthquake.
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One of the motives for Pope Francis’s August 28 visit to L’Aquila was to show his solidarity with the city as it continues to rebuild after the 2009 earthquake.
More than 300 people died in the quake, making it Italy‘s deadliest earthquake in decades. The epicenter was near L’Aquila itself, and the destruction was immense.
During his visit, the Pope met with families of those who perished.
“Above all, I thank all of you for your witness of faith – even amidst pain and confusion, which is a part of our faith as pilgrims, you fixed your eyes on Christ, crucified and risen, who with his love has redeemed the non-sense of suffering and death,” he told them.
The Pope referenced a letter he received from one family, who had lost their only two children, both adolescents.
And there are so many more like that person. And Jesus placed you back in the arms of the Father, who does not let even one tear fall in vain, not even one!, but who gathers them all in his merciful heart.
Death cannot destroy love
The Pope assured that in Jesus’ heart “are written all the names of your loved ones who have passed from time into eternity.”
But he also insisted:
Communion with them is more alive than ever. Death cannot destroy love, which the liturgy reminds us: “Indeed, for your faithful, Lord, life is changed not ended” (Preface I For the Dead).
“But the pain remains, and beautiful words help, but the pain remains,” the Pope acknowledged. “And the pain does not go away with words.”
To help with the pain, he said, there is only closeness:
Only through closeness, friendship, affection – walking together, helping each other as brothers and sisters and moving forward. Either we are a people of God or painful problems like this are not resolved.