· At the Angelus the Pope renews his closeness to the people of central Italy and announces that he will visit the areas affected by the earthquake ·

Pope Francis will visit the people impacted by the earthquake that devastated areas of central Italy, so as to personally bring them “the comfort of faith, the embrace of a father and brother, and the support of Christian hope”. The Pontiff made the announcement after reciting the Angelus on Sunday, 28 August, with the faithful in St Peter’s Square.

After the Marian prayer, before greeting the various groups present, the Pope renewed his “spiritual closeness” to the victims of the recent quake in Lazio, the Marches and Umbria.

Firefighters recover a crucifix from a damaged church in the village of Rio, some 10 kms from the central Italian village of Amatrice, on August 28, 2016, four days after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck the region, killing nearly 300 people. Shoddy, price-cutting renovations, in breach of local building regulations, could be partly to blame for the high death toll from this week's devastating earthquake in central Italy, according to a prosecutor investigating the disaster. As questions mount over the deaths of nearly 300 people, prosecutor Giuseppe Saieva indicated that property owners who commissioned suspected sub-standard work could be held responsible for contributing to the quake's deadly impact. / AFP / ALBERTO PIZZOLI

“ I think in particular”, he said, “of the people of Amatrice, Accumoli, Arquata and Pescara del Tronto, and Norcia. I would like to again say to those dear people that the Church shares in their suffering and their concerns”. After asking the faithful to pray “for those who have died and for those who have survived”, Francis expressed gratitude to “the authorities, police, civil protection and volunteers who are serving”. Their attentiveness, he remarked, “shows how important solidarity is in overcoming such painful trials”. This was the spirit of his message to the people of the affected areas: “as soon as possible I too hope to come to see you.

Earlier the Pontiff spoke about the two Gospel parables from the day’s liturgy and focused on the values of humility and gratuity. “History teaches that pride, careerism, vanity and ostentation”, he said, “are the causes of many evils. And Jesus helps us to understand the necessity of choosing the last place, that is, of seeking to be small and hidden”. In particular he noted that Jesus “gives voice to those who are voiceless”, and urges us “to open our hearts” and to share in “the sufferings and anxieties of the poor, the hungry, the marginalized, the refugees” and to all those “who are rejected by society and by the arrogance of the strong”.

After the Angelus, Pope Francis recalled the beatification of Sr María Antonia de San José, which took place on Saturday in Argentina. He also reminded the faithful of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, which will be celebrated on Thursday, 1 September.

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