.- Pope Benedict XVI said today at his weekly general audience that he will visit the earthquake plagued city of L'Aquila soon and that he remains in solidarity with the victims' suffering.
After offering his reflections on the meaning of each day in Holy Week, Pope Benedict reiterated his "spiritual closeness to the beloved community of L'Aquila and its outlying villages, so severely affected by the violent earthquake of recent days, which caused numerous victims, many injured and vast material damage." The death toll as of Wednesday was at 250 people, including 16 children.
He told Italian-speaking pilgrims: "The promptness with which the authorities, security forces, volunteers and other workers are helping these our brothers and sisters shows how important solidarity is in order to overcome such difficult trials together. Once again I wish to tell those dear people that the Pope shares their suffering and concerns. Dear friends, as soon as possible I hope to come and visit you. Know that the Pope prays for everyone, imploring the Lord's mercy for the deceased, and the maternal comfort of Mary and the support of Christian hope for survivors and families."
Archbishop Giuseppe Molinari of L'Aquila told the Italian bishops' news service SIR that he thinks the Pope will visit the area next week.