Earthquake Hits Central Italy, Pope Prays and Sends Help

This week, Pope Francis devoted his weekly audience to praying the rosary for the victims of a powerful earthquake that hit central Italy early Wednesday morning. At present the death toll is nearing 250 people. The Vatican has also sent six fire fighters and six Gendarmerie to aid in the rescue effort, which centered on several small medieval villages located in the Apennine mountains, about 100 miles northeast of Rome. Some of the buildings in these towns date back to the 16th century.

Reuters has some video footage of the devastation and National Public Radio (NPR) also offers photos and coverage. The New York Times has provided background on the history of deadly earthquakes that have struck Italy since 1915. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is asking for prayers; Catholics may want to check the CRS site in the days to come to see if they can use financial assistance in the recovery efforts.