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Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
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Archbishop Sample reports on earthquake experience in Norcia

October 27, 2016

Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon, was preparing to celebrate Mass at the Benedictine monastery in Norcia, Italy, when an earthquake hit central Italy on October 26.

“It didn’t last very long, but it really shook the building we were in,” Archbishop Sample told Catholic News Service. He reported that he was rattled by the quake and by aftershocks that continued for several hours. “I think about three times during the night, I was halfway out of bed to get to the door,” the archbishop confessed.

No one at Norcia was injured by the October 26 earthquake. The monastery had already needed repairs after a stronger earthquake in August, and the basilica dedicated to St. Benedict suffered extensive damage. The monks living at St. Benedict’s birthplace estimate that it will take months to restore the basilica to regular use.


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  • Posted by: ElizabethD - Oct. 27, 2016 2:25 PM ET USA

    The monks say in an email sent to their supporters that the 50% of their monastery that had still been habitable after the original earthquake no longer is, and the roof and dome of the Basilica are now collapsing exposing the interior to the elements, and whole walls of decorative plaster work as well as the cross surmounting the facade have fallen. They say it will also no longer be possible to offer Mass for the public in the Basilica crypt as they had still been doing.