(Vatican Radio) On Saturday, Pope Francis welcomed to the Vatican a number of young children from the towns Norcia, Cascia, Accumoli, Amatrice, Arquata del Tronto, and Acquasanta – communities that were devastated by a series of earthquakes that struck central Italy last year.
The children had come to Rome aboard a special “Children’s Train” especially to meet with the Holy Father.
In the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis conversed familiarly with the children. “They tell me I have to speak, but I like to listen!” he said, inviting them to tell him their stories. He called several of the children to himself so he could ask them questions and listen to their responses. The Pope asked them about the effects of the earthquake, and how the children were responding in the wake of the catastrophe.
After speaking individually with more than a dozen boys and girls, Pope Francis offered a word of instruction. “What you’ve gone through is truly ugly,” he said, “because it’s a disaster, and disasters wound the soul.” But, he told them, “the Lord helps us to start again!”:
“Do you trust in the Lord?” the Pope asked them.
“Yes!” they replied.
“Are you sure?”
“And also in the Madonna?”
“And now, if we have faith, let us thank the Madonna for the good things she has given us in this disaster: Hail Mary…”
After leading the children in the Hail Mary, the Holy Father told the children, ‘One of the things that Jesus likes best, one of the words that the Lord likes best, is the word “thank you very much.’” He thanked them for their visit.