Pope Francis: In times of suffering, know that you are never alone

Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Pope Francis wrote a heartfelt letter Tuesday to an Italian community still suffering one year after a bridge collapse. His message: “Know that you are not alone.”

“Jesus passed before us through suffering and death. He has taken upon us all our sufferings. He was despised, humiliated, beaten, nailed to the cross and brutally killed. God's response to our pain was closeness, a presence that accompanies us, that does not leave us alone,” Pope Francis wrote in a letter published Aug. 13.

Pope Francis’ letter was published in a local newspaper in Genoa to mark the one year anniversary of the collapse of the Morandi Bridge, which killed 43 people.

“Jesus made himself like us, and for this reason, we have Him next to us, to cry with us in the most difficult moments of our lives. We look to Him, we entrust our questions to Him, our pain, our anger,” the pope continued.

“Today I want to tell you one thing first of all: know that you are not alone. Know that you are never alone. Know that God our Father has answered our cries and our questions, not with words, but with a presence that accompanies us, that of His Son,” Francis said.


“I would also like to tell you that Jesus on the cross was not alone,” he said. “Beneath that scaffold was his mother, Mary. Stabat Mater, Mary was under the cross, to share the suffering of the Son.”

“We are not alone, we have a Mother who from Heaven looks at us with love and is close to us. Let us cling to her and say to her: ‘Mother,’ as child does when it is afraid and wants to be comforted and reassured,” he added.

Pope Francis said that the collapse of the Morandi Bridge inflicted a wound on the heart of Genoa, and encouraged solidarity with the local Catholic community.

“The more we are aware of our weakness, of the precariousness of our human condition, the more we rediscover the beauty of human relationships, of the bonds that unite us, like families, communities, civil society,” he said.

“I know that even after a great tragedy that has hurt your families and your city, you have been able to respond, to get up, to look forward,” he said. “Don't lose hope, don't let it be stolen! Continue to stand by those most affected.”

More in Vatican

“We are men and women full of defects and weaknesses, but we have a Merciful Father to whom we can turn, a crucified and Risen Son who walks with us, the Holy Spirit who assists and accompanies us. We have a Mother in Heaven who continues to spread her mantle over us without ever abandoning us,” Pope Francis said.

“I would also like to tell you that you are not alone because the Christian community … is with you and shares your sufferings and your difficulties,” he said.