August 25, 2016, Thursday — Two Monks Remain…
Ruin and Death in Central Italy
The earth shook yesterday morning at about 3:30 a.m. in central Italy. Entire villages, built mostly of stone, have crumbled, taking the lives (as of now) of some 250 people, and leaving many dozens more seriously injured — with more dead and injured likely to be discovered by rescuers still searching through the rubble.
Aftershocks are continuing. The Italian earthquake institute (INGV) reported 60 aftershocks in the four hours following the initial quake, which was measured at 6.2 on the Richter scale; the strongest aftershock measured 5.5.
The worst damage was in Pescara del Tronto, a hamlet near Arquata in the Marche region. Rescue workers said the town was virtually “razed” to the ground.
The quake’s epicenter was near Norcia, where there is a small monastery of Benedictine monks, our friends — we have visited them on numerous occasions with our pilgrims, and now we are concerned for their safety, and the safety of their neighbors.
But none of the monks of Norcia have been harmed, the monks have advised us in emails.
And no one in Norcia itself, so far as we know, has died or been seriously injured.
But entire villages near Norcia have crumbled, and the death toll has been heavy.
The quake was felt even in Rome — Pope Francis said publicly yesterday that he himself felt the earth move early yesterday morning, in the Domus Santa Marta, where he lives.
Pope Francis interrupted his Wednesday weekly audience in St Peter’s Square yesterday to express his shock at the news.
“To hear the mayor of Amatrice say his village no longer exists and knowing that there are children among the victims, is very upsetting for me,” Francis said.
The area in red on the map of Italy below is the region in question.
The red and white circle-dot in the middle is where Norcia is.
Read this Letter here: