Pope's message marking 70th anniversary of San Lorenzo bombing
(Vatican Radio) To mark the seventieth anniversary of the first violent bombardment
of San Lorenzo , Pope Francis sent the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, the following message.
Below is a Vatican Radio English language translation of the message to Cardinal Agostino
Vallini Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome
The community of Capuchin Friars
and all gathered in the Basilica of San Lorenzo outside the walls are spiritually
united with you, to commemorate the violent bombing of July 19, 1943, which inflicted
serious damage to the sacred building and the entire district, as well as to other
areas of the city, spreading death and destruction. Seventy years later, the commemoration
of that event particularly dramatic is an occasion to pray for those who have gone
and a renewed meditation around the terrible scourge of war, as well as an expression
of gratitude to the man who was an attentive and provident father.
to the Venerable Pius XII, who, in those terrible hours, came close to his fellow
citizens so badly affected. Pope Pacelli did not hesitate to come, immediately and
without escort, among the still smoking ruins of the District of San Lorenzo, in order
to help and console the frightened. Even at that time he showed himself to be a caring
pastor who is in the midst of his flock, especially in times of trial, ready to share
in the sufferings of his people. With him, I would like to remember all those who,
in such a dramatic moment, collaborated in offering moral and material help in healing
the wounds of body and soul and in providing assistance to the homeless. Among others,
I wish to make mention of Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Pope Paul
VI, then Deputy Secretary of State, who accompanied Pius XII in the visit to the area
just devastated by bombs.
The gesture is a sign of Pope Pacelli’s incessant
work for the Holy See and the Church in its various forms, parishes, religious institutes,
boarding schools, to give relief to the population. Many Bishops, priests, religious
brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout Italy were like the Good Samaritan in
the Gospel parable, leaning on his brother in pain, to help him and give him consolation
and hope. That was an act of charity that stretched to every human being in danger
and in need of friendship and support.
The memory of the bombing of that dramatic
day resonates once again in each of the words of Pope Pius XII: "Nothing is lost with
peace, everything can be lost with war." (Radio Message, August 24, 1939). Peace is
a gift of God, to find such open hearts to receive him and to work to be builders
of peace and reconciliation.
I commend all the inhabitants of the district
of San Lorenzo, especially the elderly, the sick, the lonely and distressed to the
maternal intercession of Mary, Salus Populi Romani. She, the Virgin of tenderness
and consolation, builds faith, hope and charity in order to spread the love and mercy
With these sentiments, I assure my prayers and I cordially impart my