Pope to visit quake-hit area in central Italy

April 28, 2009 10:02

Pope Benedict XVI will visit the region in central Italy devastated by an earthquake that killed nearly 300 people. Benedict will fly by helicopter Tuesday from the Vatican to the village of Onna, which was virtually leveled and where around 40 of the hamlet's 300 residents were killed by the 6.3-magnitude temblor that struck April 6. In L'Aquila, he will visit the ruins of the 13th-century Santa Maria di Collemaggio basilica. He is expected to pray before the salvaged remains of Pope Celestine V, the 13th-century hermit and saint who was the only pope to resign. Benedict will greet civil protection crews who are caring for the thousands of people living in tents before returning by lunchtime to the Vatican.

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