Pope Francis Makes Surprise Visit To Site Of Devastating Italy Earthquake

VATICAN CITY (CBSNewYork/AP) — Pope Francis has made a surprise visit to the site of the devastating August earthquake in central Italy.

The Vatican said the pope arrived in Amatrice Tuesday morning, accompanied by the bishop of Rieti, and started his tour at the school. He then planned to visit the hardest-hit area of the town, which remains largely closed due to security concerns.

PHOTOS: Pope Francis Visits Site Of Italy Earthquake | Photos: Italy Earthquake

“I wish to bring the consolation of the Lord Jesus, with the maternal love and embrace of the entire Church, to all those affected by the earthquake in Central Italy,” Pope Francis said in a video posted to his official Instagram page on Tuesday.

* EN: I wish to bring the consolation of the Lord Jesus, with the maternal love and embrace of the entire Church, to all those affected by the earthquake in central Italy. * PT: Quero levar a consolação do Senhor Jesus, com a carícia e o abraço de toda a Igreja, a todos os que foram atingidos pelo terremoto na Itália central. * ES: Deseo llevar el consuelo del Señor Jesús, junto con la caricia y el abrazo de toda la Iglesia, a todas las personas afectadas por el terremoto en Italia central. * ITA: Desidero portare la consolazione del Signore Gesù, con la carezza e l’abbraccio di tutta la Chiesa, a quanti sono stati colpiti dal terremoto nell’Italia centrale. * FR: Je désire porter la consolation du Seigneur Jésus, avec la caresse et l’étreinte de toute l’Église, à ceux qui ont été touchés par le tremblement de terre dans le centre de l’Italie. * DE: Ich möchte allen Erdbebenopfern Mittelitaliens mit der Umarmung der ganzen Kirche den Trost unseres Herrn Jesus bringen.

A video posted by Pope Francis (@franciscus) on

Francis had made clear his intentions to visit the quake-stricken zone but without announcing a date. He indicated that he wanted to go alone “to be close to the people.”

Francis said he didn’t visit sooner because he didn’t “want to be a nuisance.”

The devastating earthquake rattled central Italy in late August, destroying local villages and killing nearly 300 people.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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