Celestine’s Basilica Battered

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 11:12 AM Comments (1)

Santa Maria di Collemaggio's Holy Door. (abruzzoheritage.com)

One of the Italy’s most famous basilicas, Santa Maria di Collemaggio, was very badly damaged in yesterday’s earthquake in Italy.

Founded in the late 1200s by Pope Celestine V — the only pope ever to have abdicated — some of Santa Maria di Collemaggio’s distinct pink-and-white stone-faced structure remains intact, but inside is “a disaster,” according to its parish priest, Canon Nunzio Spinelli.

The high altar and two side altars couldn’t be saved, Canon Spinelli told today’s La Stampa newspaper.

“In front of the altar there is a huge pile of rubble, fallen beams, bricks, stones, tiles,” the priest said. “But the body of St. Celestine is safe.”

“You know,...READ MORE

Filed under earthquake, italy

Abbess Dies in Quake

Monday, April 06, 2009 3:17 PM Comments (0)

A couple embrace near the ruins of their house the village of Onna, Italy. (CNS/Reuters)

The Adnkronos news agency has reported that Sister Gemma Antonucci, abbess of the Poor Clare nuns of the convent of Santa Chiara of Paganica, died in today’s earthquake in Italy.

According to the Adnkronos report, rescuers were trying to remove debris from another nun thought to be trapped in the collapsed building.

Adnkronos also reported as follows:

According to SIR, the news agency of the Italian bishops, Don Dionisio Umberto Rodriguez Cuartas, pastor of the 5,000 inhabitants of Paganica and director of Caritas L’Aquila, said: ‘‘There are at least three deaths in the parish, but I fear the number will rise because ‘the old’ part of the town has completely collapsed. It wasn’t...READ MORE

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Earthquake Rocks Italy

Monday, April 06, 2009 10:10 AM Comments (0)

An Italian soldier stands in front of a damaged church in the Italian village of Paganica after today's earthquake. (Reuters)

Like many here in Rome, we were awoken in the early hours of this morning by shaking beds, rattling doors, and the sounds of car alarms.

An earthquake had hit the Eternal City — one of the most serious to do so for many years.

But what we experienced in Rome was nothing compared to the suffering inflicted on the inhabitants of L’Aquila, the quake’s epicentre just 53 miles from Rome.

Measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, the quake has so far claimed at least 92 people, including five children. That figure is expected to rise, according to the Italian news agency ANSA. At least 6,000 people who have been left homeless will be fed in L’Aquila’s soccer stadium later Monday. L’Aquila...READ MORE

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About Edward Pentin

Edward Pentin
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Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Follow on Twitter @edwardpentin