ROVERETO DI NOVI, Italy (CBS) -- Pope Benedict traveled to Northern Italy to talk with victims of last month's deadly earthquakes. The pope honored a local priest who was killed when the roof of his church collapsed. He also spoke to thousands of victims telling them to turn to their faith.
Pope Benedict paid a visit to earthquake victims in northern italy. His first stop was a medieval church in Rovereto di nNovi, where a local priest died while trying to save a statue of the Madonna.
After saying a few prayers, the pope toured the historic center. Like many towns, it's been evacuated since back to back earthquakes hit the region in May. The powerful tremors killed dozens of people. Destroyed many historic buildings and wiped out the region's economy.
Pope Benedict told the thousands who came to see him that they should turn to their faith as they rebuild their lives. "I have always been close to you with my prayers and concern," he told them. "You are not and will not be alone."
Many in the crowd welcomed his words. Orietta Giannuzzi says his visit is a source of strength, and hope that we are not being forgotten.
The pope said he came to offer solidarity and encouragement to the earthquake victims, many of whom are still unable to return home.
Tent cities have cropped up throughout the region, providing shelter for about 14,000 people. One family has been living in a camper van. They lost their home and their business. We welcome the spiritual help, Giada Tresoldi says, but we also need more financial support.
That, many say, would be an answer to their prayers. Pope Benedict has donated over $600,000 to the neediest victims of the earthquakes.