Prayers for Norcia

It seems that the earthquakes that began been hitting Norcia this summer were only preludes to the main event. Just moments ago, reports began coming in from all over the Internet of strong tremors felt in Rome, lasting as long as 20 seconds. Early reports from some geological services said that this latest quake registered as a 6.9, but they have since mostly come in at the 6.5-6.6 range – still larger than anything to hit central Italy thus far this year. Here’s a video from EWTN producer and correspondent Mary Shovlain, who lives in Rome:

I was actually chatting with my friend and 1P5 contributor Hilary White via Facebook Messenger when it happened, and the connection just went out. Now we’re getting the first photos from Norcia, and it appears that the Basilica has been destroyed.

I’ve gotten word from a mutual friend in Italy that Hilary is ok, but the town is not. As the recent photo essay we published by Julian Kwasniewski showed, Norcia had become a center of revival for authentic Benedictine spirituality. The future is now looking very grim for the Benedictines in the birthplace of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica.

It is also reasonable to conclude at this point (though the news is still early) that there are towns where serious casualties have occurred. The Monks just tweeted this:

Please pray for the people of Norcia — especially those who have moved there to be close to the Benedictine Monastery, and the Monks of Norcia — as well as any others affected by this quake.

I don’t expect to provide ongoing coverage of this event. The news media has the resources to do a better job. But when we get an update on what will become of the Benedictines or the town of Norcia itself, we will be sure to let you know.

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