Pope Benedict XVI has urged survivors of Monday's earthquake in central Italy to have courage and keep up hope.
The pope told the survivors that he felt "spiritually among you" and that he was sharing their anguish.
The message was read Friday by the pope's secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, at the opening of a collective funeral for 205 victims of the quake.
Benedict plans to visit the quake area in the coming weeks.
The Vatican granted a special dispensation to hold a Mass on Good Friday, the only day on the Roman Catholic calendar on which Mass is not normally celebrated.