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Pope Francis issued a statement of prayer for Italy’s earthquake victims.

Pope Francis issued a statement Wednesday about the earthquake in central Italy wherein over 70 people are feared dead.

A 6.2 magnitude earthquake and several strong aftershocks shook the region.

Italy is on two fault lines and is therefore considered one of the most earthquake prone cities in Europe.

Addressing the crowd for Wednesday’s catechesis in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis stated “I can only express my great sorrow and closeness to all those present in the places struck by the quakes, to all those who have lost loved ones and to those who still feel shaken by ear and terror.”

The Pope continued, assuring those affected that the Catholic Church is there for them, “Be sure of the church’s caress and embrace, which now embraces you with her maternal love.”

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