Pope to visit Italy's quake-hit area on April 28

Sunday, April 19, 2009

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI will tour towns damaged by Italy's earthquake and visit a tent city of survivors in an effort to restore hope and solidarity for the area's reconstruction, the Vatican said Saturday.

The three-hour visit on April 28 will include time at the tent city on the outskirts of Onna, a hamlet that was completely leveled by the powerful April 6 earthquake.

The quake claimed 295 lives, drove some 50,000 people from their homes, and toppled or heavily damaged thousands of buildings, including churches, schools and other public buildings in the Abruzzo region in the central Apennine mountains.

By visiting the Abruzzo quake area, the pope will bring "hope and the church's expression of solidarity, which it had already shown from the start by intensely sharing in the sorrow of the stricken people," the Vatican's No. 2 official, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said on the sidelines of a ceremony in Rome.

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