Pope visits quake-stricken Italian region

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 26, 2012 6:18 AM
Pope visits quake-stricken Italian region

ROVERETO DI MODI, Italy (Reuters) - Pope Benedict comforted victims of last month's Italian earthquake that killed 25 people and devastated many homes, factories and churches, telling them on Tuesday to turn to their faith as they seek to rebuild their lives.

Benedict made a two-hour visit to the Emilia region hit on May 20 by a 6.0 magnitude quake, Italy's deadliest since 2009. The area was later hit by many aftershocks.

In an address to the people of Rovereto di Modi, one of the most heavily hit towns, Benedict told them to rebuild on their faith.

"On this rock, on this firm hope, you can build, you can rebuild," he said, adding that while their buildings were cracked their hearts were not.

The pope paid tribute to a local parish priest, Father Ivan Martini, who died when his church collapsed while he was inside checking damage from an earlier tremor.

(Reporting by Philip Baillie; Writing by Philip Pullella; Editing by Alessandra Rizzo)