Pope Francis on Thursday met hundreds of survivors of three devastating earthquakes in central Italy that claimed 299 lives and razed entire villages to the ground.
“The pain is great, and we must rebuild with that pain,’’ he told families who lost relatives, friends, homes and livelihoods in the deadly Aug. 24 quake.
It was followed by two more powerful tremors at the end of October that caused no fatalities but reduced more communities to rubble.
“Hearts are wounded, there’s no room for optimism here, but for hope.
“We need hearts and hands to rebuild.
“Some of you have lost so much, not only your homes but also children and parents … but miracles can come from times of pain, such as reconciliation (among neighbours).
“Those are the times when we re-discover ourselves, with a kiss or an embrace, with mutual assistance, and even with tears.
“Crying alone does good …. but crying together is better. We re-discover ourselves by crying together,” Francis said.
The August quake occurred in the early morning, when most people were asleep indoors.
Francis visited the mountain town of Amatrice which sustained the most fatalities and other stricken villages in the quake zone in October.
SOURCE: Agency reports