|Italy – The earthquake: the Salesians are doing all they can|
(ANS – Ferrara) – At 4:03 on the morning of Sunday May 20, an earthquake shock of magnitude 5.9 struck in North Italy, particularly in the zone of Emilia Romagna. There are seven confirmed fatalities and 4,000 people displaced in the first shelters. The Salesian House of Ferrara, itself damaged by the shock, is preparing to help some of the displaced.
A short message from the head of the oratory of Ferrara, Fr. Marco Lazzerini, states that the church of the house is damaged and cannot be used. There is serious damage to the cupola and cracks in various parts of the concrete structure. The church was only recently restored after the effects of a fire in June 2007 which destroyed the organ and ruined the interior of the shrine dedicated to St. Benedict.
“.....we are living in fear of the aftershocks of the earthquake. From 4.00 on Sunday morning many people took shelter here in the oratory. There is a palpable desire not to be living alone at this time.” About 160 people have been taken in by the Salesian community. About 20 stayed overnight. “There are still aftershocks. The church is damaged and unusable. For the moment we have no other heavy damage.”
The secretary of the Italian Lombardy Emilian Province, Fr. Stefano Guastalla, has stated that there are no other reports of damage from other houses.