The first wave of funerals for Italy's earthquake victims took place today. In small towns throughout the ravaged Abruzzo region, thousands mourned the loss of their neighbors, BBC reports. A mass funeral will take place in the regional capital Friday, marking a national day of mourning. With aftershocks hampering rescue efforts, relief crews have shifted their focus to the 28,000 left homeless. The death toll is now at 272.
"I wish to tell that population the pope shares your pain and your worries," said Pope Benedict. "I hope to visit you as soon as I can."