By Charles Igwe
Following the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, July 16, Pope Francis took a moment to reflect on a significant historical event. He recalled the bombings that occurred eighty years ago on July 19, 1943, in certain districts of Rome. The Pope highlighted the tragic anniversary as an opportunity to strongly reaffirm the rejection of war and the preservation of historical memory.
During that time, the San Lorenzo district in Rome alone witnessed the loss of 717 lives and 4,000 injuries due to the bombings. The toll on the entire city was even more devastating, with 3,000 casualties and 11,000 injuries across numerous districts. The Historical Museum of Liberation in Rome attests to the destruction of 10,000 houses and the displacement of 40,000 citizens. The first bombing of Rome on July 19, 1943, targeted the San Lorenzo district.
Pope Francis raised the question of how such tragedies continue to occur in present times. He wondered if humanity has forgotten the lessons of the past. He prayed that the Lord would have mercy on us and free the human family from the affliction of war.
Additionally, Pope Francis offered a prayer specifically for the suffering Ukrainian people, acknowledging the hardships they currently endure.