An Italian priest has died after a church collapsed in Roverto -- near the city of Modena in northern Italy -- as an earthquake struck while he tried to inspect and rescue some statues, the Catholic News website reports today (May 29, 2012).
Fr. Ivan Martini, 65, loved his church, St. Catherine's, and everything in it. The church had been damaged and declared unfit for use following a previous earthquake, but an inspection had to be carried out in order to salvage some furniture from inside it.
So the priest entered the church along with two firemen to try to save some statues. Among these was a statue of the Virgin Mary which his parishioners were particularly fond of.
But the strong earthquake that followed took the priest by surprise. Unable to escape, Fr. Ivan was hit by a rock or a collapsing beam, while the two firemen who had accompanied him managed to escape without injury.