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Pope recalls Pius XII on the 70th anniversary of Rome bombing

Vatican City, 20 July 2013: Pope Francis wrote to his Vicar Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the bombing of San Lorenzo on 19 July 1943.

‘I am spiritually united with you, the community of Capuchin Friars and all gathered in the Basilica of San Lorenzo outside the walls to commemorate the violent bombing of July 19, 1943, which inflicted serious damage to the sacred building and the entire district, as well as to other areas of the city, spreading death and destruction’ recalled Pope Francis. Seventy years later, the commemoration of that particularly dramatic event wants to be an occasion to pray for those who have disappeared and a renewed meditation around the terrible scourge of war, said the Pontiff in his 19 July message.

Recalling the Pope of the time, the Venerable Pius XII, Pope Francis said, in those terrible hours, he came close to his so badly affected fellow citizens. Pope Pacelli did not hesitate to run, immediately and without escort, among the still smoking ruins of the District of San Lorenzo, in order to help and console the frightened. Even at that time he showed himself as a caring pastor who is in the midst of his flock, especially in times of trial, ready to share in the sufferings of his people.
With him, I would like to remind all those who, in such a dramatic moment, collaborated in offering moral and material help in healing the wounds of body and soul and in providing assistance to the homeless. Among others, I wish to make mention of Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Pope Paul VI, then Deputy Secretary of State, who accompanied Pius XII in the visit to the barrio just devastated by bombs.

The gesture of Pope Pacelli is a sign, the incessant work of the Holy See and the Church in its various forms, parishes, religious institutes, boarding schools, to give relief to the population. Many Bishops, priests, religious brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout Italy were like the Good Samaritan in the Gospel parable, leaning on his brother in pain, to help him and give him consolation and hope. That was a charity race that stretched to every human being in danger and in need of friendship and support.

The memory of the bombing of that dramatic day resonate once again in each words of Pope Pius XII: "Nothing is lost with peace, everything can be lost with war." (Radio Message, August 24, 1939). Peace is a gift of God, to find such open hearts to receive him and to work to be builders of peace and reconciliation.
Pope Francis concluded his message saying ‘I commend all the inhabitants of the district of San Lorenzo, especially the elderly, the sick, the lonely and distressed to the maternal intercession of Mary, Salus Populi Romani. She, the Virgin of tenderness and consolation, builds faith, hope and charity in order to spread the love and mercy of God.’
Source: VR Sedoc


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