Monday, April 27, 2009

"Comfort My People"

Making good on his Holy Week promise, tomorrow Pope Benedict travels to L'Aquila, where he'll visit the epicenter of the 6.3-magnitude quake that struck Central Italy's Abruzzo province in the days before Easter.

In the course of the day-long trek, the pontiff will meet survivors both at a collapsed dorm and in the tent city that remains home to a sizable number of the area's 65,000 displaced residents.

The 6 April quake killed some 300 people, most of whom were laid to rest after an unprecedented Good Friday funeral liturgy was held with a Vatican indult.

Away from the headlines, the recent discovery in the rubble of a fragile 15th century clay statue of the Madonna and Child that remained intact despite the basilica that fell around it has been seen by the community as a sign of hope.

Early estimates have placed the region's rebuilding in the range of €12 billion (US$16 billion). Several of the area's age-old cultural treasures, however, are lost to eternity.

More, as always, as it happens.