Just two months after an earthquake rocked central Italy and killed several hundred people, another, larger quake hit the region today, wounding around 20 people and destroying many buildings.
Among the structures destroyed is the Basilica of St. Benedict in Norcia, which sustained heavy damage from the August 24 quake. In an email to friends and supporters, the Benedictine monks of Norcia said that no one was hurt in the quake or as the 14th-century church collapsed. The BBC reports that nuns ran out of the church as it crumbled.
The monks’ email says:
We monks are all fine, but our hearts go now to those affected, and the monks of the monastery trying to figure out if someone is in need of extreme unction.
The Basilica of St. Benedict, the historic church built over the house of St. Benedict, collapsed as a result of these shocks. This serves to illustrate the power of the earthquake, and the urgency that we monks feel in going to the aid of those in need of the Sacraments on this difficult day for Italy.
In his Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the earthquake and for rescue workers:
I express my closeness to the central Italy earthquake victims. Even this morning there was a strong shock. I pray for the injured and for the families that have suffered major damage, as well as for the personnel involved in rescue and assistance.
The Risen Lord give them strength and Our Lady guard them.
Earlier this month, Dorothy Cummings McLean described a visit to the monks of Norcia and their historic community for CWR.