VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the L’Aquila region, struck by an earthquake April 6, was delayed by an hour because heavy rains made it impossible for him to get there by helicopter.
Vatican journalists, including Rome bureau correspondent Carol Glatz, set off by bus at 6:30 this morning to be in place when the pope arrived. The early morning wake-up call earned them a place in a muddy pen under the rain near the tent camp set up outside Onna. The little town of about 300 residents was almost completely destroyed by the earthquake and 40 of its citizens died.
While waiting for Carol to file her story, I thought I would translate and post the text of the prayer the pope recited in Onna:
We entrust our loved ones to you, Lord,
Knowing that you never take the lives of your faithful, but transform them,
And that at the moment the dwelling places of this our earthly exile are destroyed,
You prepare an eternal and immortal one for us in paradise.
Holy Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
Hear the cry of pain and of hope
That rises from this community harshly tied by the earthquake.
It is the silent cry of the blood of mothers, fathers, young people
And also innocent little ones that rises up from this land.
They have been snatched from the affection of their loved ones,
Welcome them all into your peace, Lord, who is God-with-us,
Who is the Love able to give life without end.
We need you and your strength
Because we feel small and fragile in the face of death;
Help us, we pray, because only your support
Can help us get up and, with trust, take each other’s hands,
And start out again on the journey of life.
We ask you this through Jesus Christ, our savior,
In whom shines the hope of the blessed resurrection. Amen.
(UPDATE: Here’s Carol’s story.)