In a message published today, the pontiff expresses closeness to all those who have been touched by the tragedy and acknowledges that he does not have "pre-packaged answers". He does however reach out to the people of the city, saying "you are not alone", entrusting to Christ "our questions, our pain, our anger", urging people to look “towards the Madonna della Guardia", and calling for reconstruction in solidarity, together with the Church of Genoa.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis issued a message today to the people of Genoa a year after the collapse of the Morandi Bridge that killed 43 people. in it, his words, like a refrain, repeat "I have not forgotten you" and "you are not alone".
The Vatican Press Office released the message today, which was published in the Genoese newspaper Il Secolo XIX.
Stressing that he has not forgotten the "wound inflicted" on the city, the tragedy of the dead and the wounded and the distraught life of those who had to leave his home and live as displaced people, the Pope acknowledges that he does not have "pre-packaged answers to give you because in the face of certain situations poor human words are inadequate".
He does however offer a "message that springs from my heart of father and a brother", adding: "Do not let the events of life break the bonds that weave your community, erase the memory of what made its history". And to validate "the hopes of the Genoese", the pontiff stresses that "you are not alone".
"God's response to our pain was closeness, a presence that accompanies us, that does not leave us alone. Jesus made himself equal to us and for this reason we have him next to us, to cry with us in the most difficult moments of our lives. We look to him, we entrust our questions, our pain, our anger to him."
Ultimately, "We are not alone” for “We have a Mother who from Heaven looks at us with love and is close to us". Thus, Francis calls on the Genoese to raise "the eye towards Madonna della Guardia" (Our Lady of the Watch), the Marian shrine in the mountains overlooking the city, where Mary appeared to a humble peasant in in 1490, asking him to build a chapel.
Precisely the act of building in hope leads the Pope to reiterate that "you are not alone because the Christian community, the Church of Genoa, is with you and shares your sufferings and your difficulties". Hence, the Holy Father goes on to invite the Genoese to rediscover "the beauty of human relations", of “solidarity", of standing “by those in greatest need".
Finally, "After a great tragedy that has wounded your families and your city, you have been able to react, get up, look ahead. Do not lose hope, do not let it be stolen!”
Pictured, a moment of the funeral of the victims of the collapse, presided by Card Angelo Bagnasco (18 August 2018)