By Jim Fair

This morning the Holy Father Francis received in audience members of the families of the youths and young mother who lost their lives in the discotheque in Corinaldo, Ancona, on December 8, 2018.

Pope Francis on December 9, 2018, offered prayers for the victims of the stampede early morning of December 8, 2018, at a disco in the small town of Corinaldo, Italy, near the Adriatic Coast.

“A memory in my prayer for the boys and the mother who died in a discotheque in Corinaldo, in the province of Ancona, and for the numerous injured,” SIR News Agency quoted Pope Francis as saying after praying the noonday Angelus with some 45,000 of the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “I ask for the intercession of Our Lady for everyone.”

According to ANSA, patrons at the crowded concert venue panicked after someone sprayed a “stinging substance” at the concert by popular Italian rapper Sfera Ebbasta. Panic ensued as the crowd — mostly teens — tried to leave. Six were killed, five of them minors, and the sixth a parent of a concertgoer. In addition to the deaths, more than 50 were injured in the stampede to exit the venue, several seriously.

The following is the Pope’s greeting to them today, provided by the Vatican:

Greeting of the Holy Father

Dear brothers and sisters,

I thank you for coming to share with me too your suffering and your prayer. II remember that when the tragedy occurred, I was shaken by it. But as time goes by – and unfortunately with the succession of many, too many human tragedies – one risks forgetting. This meeting helps me and the Church not to forget, to keep in my heart, and above all to entrust your loved ones to the heart of God the Father.

Every tragic death brings with it great pain. But when it steals away five teenagers and a young mother, it is immense, unbearable without God’s help. I do not go into the causes of the accidents in that discotheque where your family died. But I join with all my heart to your suffering and your legitimate desire for justice.

I also wish to offer you a word of faith, consolation, and hope.

Corinaldo, the place where the tragedy took place, is located in an area watched over by Our Lady of Loreto watches over: her Sanctuary is not far away. And so I would like – we would like – to think that she, as a Mother, never took her eyes off them, especially in that moment of dramatic confusion; that she accompanied them with her tenderness. How many times have they invoked her in the Hail Mary: “Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death”! And even though in those chaotic moments they were unable to do so, Our Lady does not forget, she does not forget our petitions: she is our Mother. She certainly accompanied them towards the merciful embrace of her Son Jesus.

This tragedy took place during the night, at the early hours of 8 December 2018, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. On that same day, at the end of the recitation of the Angelus, I prayed with the people for the young victims, for the wounded, and for your families. I know that many, starting with your Bishops, present here, your priests and your communities, have supported you with prayer and affection. My prayer for you also continues, and I accompany it with my blessing.

When we lose a father or mother, we are orphans. There is an adjective: orphan, orphan. When a spouse is lost in marriage, those who remain are widowed or widowed. There is also an adjective for this. But when you lose a child, there is no adjective. The loss of a child is impossible to express in an “adjective”. I have lost a child: what am I…? No, I am neither an orphan nor a widower. I have lost a child. Without an adjective. There isn’t one. And this is your great sorrow.

Now I would like to recite together with you the Hail Mary for Asia, Benedetta, Daniele, Emma, Mattia, and Eleonora.

[Hail Mary…]
[Blessing]

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

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