There was an earthquake overnight in Italy, the epicenter, to my and so many other folks’ initial horror, was Norcia, Italy, where the Benedictine monks who make the spectacular beer and chant the entire Divine Office publicly, are located.
Miraculously, despite the epicenter of the initial quake (6.2 magnitude), and the 40 aftershocks, with many of those being in the 4.0-5.5 range, being within just a few miles of Norcia, reports are that Norcia took only minor, superficial damage, mostly fallen plaster and some light masonry damage. Some houses took zero damage – not even fallen plaster or broken glassware. That is simply incredible for being the epicenter of a 6.2.
Sadly, other towns nearby, worst among them a town called Amatrice, have taken heavy damage, with the death toll now over 20.
I’ll say it right now: I believe that those monks and their chanting of the Divine Office and their daily offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Venerable Gregorian Rite put a hedge of protection over the town of Norcia. I believe Norcia and its inhabitants were spared what should have been, by all scientific appearances, catastrophic damage.
I get lots of emails from folks asking me where they can give money safely within the Catholic Church. My answer is always the same. There are, to my knowledge, TWO options. First is the North American seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter in Denton, Nebraska.
The other is the monks of Norcia (and not that it really matters, but 85% of the Norcia monks are American boys, almost all under the age of 40).
I assume that the Norcia monks will have to idle their beer production for a time as they clean up and get their facility back up to code. They could probably use some bridge cash while that happens. Also consider buying or subscribing to their beer club. As a resident of Denver for 15 years, I drank plenty of microbrew. The Norcia beer, both the dark and the blonde, is some of the best beer I have ever had. And apparently their brewmaster monk is a good ol’ boy from the Ozarks of Missouri.
And don’t forget to pray for the dead and the survivors of the towns badly damaged over in Italy.
And go to confession. Those folks went to bed last night not knowing that they would stand before Christ at their Particular Judgment just a few hours later. It is sobering, to say the least.
Christ, have mercy.