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Tokyo 2020 Paralympics opening ceremony Tokyo 2020 Paralympics opening ceremony  (AFP or licensors)

Pope prays for Paralympians and victims of 2016 Italy earthquake

During the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis prays for athletes competing at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics and for the victims of a devastating earthquake in Italy that occurred five years ago.

By Vatican News staff writer

In his greetings to Italian-speaking faithful during the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis turned his thoughts toward the 2020 Paralympic Games, which kicked off in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Extending his greetings and gratitude to the athletes for the “testimony of hope and courage” that they offer to everyone, the Holy Father said that they, in fact, show how commitment to sports help “to overcome seemingly insurmountable difficulties.”

24 August 2016 earthquake

Pope Francis also remembered the victims of the earthquake that struck near the town of Montegallo, in central Italy, five years ago, on 24 August 2016.

The devastating 6.2-magnitude quake resulted in the deaths of over 250 people and left thousands injured, while causing terrible damage to buildings and other properties.

“Dear brothers and sisters,” the Pope said, “your presence gives me the opportunity to turn my thoughts to the victims and to the communities of central Italy, including Accumoli and Amatrice, who suffered the harsh consequences of that seismic event.”

The Holy Father went on to underline the importance of demonstrating ‘rebirth’ from the tragedy “without letting distrust get in the way” and with the concrete help of the institutions.

“Courage!” the Pope urged, as he invited them to continue to “move forward with hope.”

25 August 2021, 10:55