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1-POPE-FRANCIS-SPEAKS

Pope Francis to visit Italian earthquake victims

The Holy Father has announced that he will visit the survivors of Wednesday’s earthquake in Central Italy, which killed over 290 people and left 2500 more homeless.

“I want to renew my spiritual solidarity with the inhabitants of Lazio, Le Marche and Umbria, so hard hit by the earthquake of a few days ago,” the Pope said to the audience following his weekly Angelus yesterday in St Peter’s Square. “I am thinking of the towns of Amatrice, Accumoli, Arquata, Pescara del Tronto and Norcia . . . the church shares your suffering and your worries. Let us pray for the dead and for the survivors.”

During his message, the Pope revealed his intention to visit the survivors as soon as possible ‘to bring to you in person the comfort of the faith, the embrace of the Father and the Son and the support of Christian hope’.

Wednesday’s earthquake took place 28 miles from the site of L’Aquila, where its most recent earthquake in April 2009 killed 308 people and left over 65,000 survivors homeless.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI visited L’Aquila 22 days after the earthquake, and in turn Pope Francis is likely to visit the affected towns next month.

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