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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

US archbishop, pilgrims were celebrating Mass in Norcia when earthquakes struck

US Archbishop Alexander K. Sample was preparing to celebrate Mass with Benedictine monks in Norcia on 26th October when the first of two powerful earthquakes struck.

“I had no sooner finished (the vesting) prayer to be protected from the assaults of Satan when bang: It just hit and it hit with a vengeance. It didn’t last very long, but it really shook the building we were in,” Archbishop Sample of Portland, Oregon, told Catholic News Service.

No casualties were reported from the quakes. According to the US Geological Survey, an earthquake measuring 5.5 struck shortly after 7pm local time and a 6.1 magnitude quake followed two hours later. Both were centred in Italy’s Marche region, not far from Norcia.

Archbishop Sample and other Portland pilgrims were visiting Norcia, the birthplace of St Benedict, during a trip to Italy for the fifth annual Populus Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage, an international gathering for Catholics devoted to the extraordinary form of the Mass.

Picture: The Archbishop of Portland, Oregon, Alexander K. Sample, poses with Benedictine monks after celebrating Mass at the San Benedetto in Monte monastery overlooking the town of Norcia, Italy, on 27th October. Archbishop Sample said he was preparing to celebrate Mass when an earthquake struck in Norcia on 26th October. (CNS photo/courtesy Populus Summorum Pontificum).