Benedict XVI on Vacation: Rest and a "Bit of Work"

Welcomed Today in Aosta Valley

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INTROD, Italy, JULY 13, 2009 ( Benedict XVI said today that he is planning «a bit of work» during his vacation in the Italian Alps, but mostly and above all, a time of rest.

The Pope arrived today to his vacation spot in Les Combes of Introd, in the Aosta Valley of the Italian Alps. He vacationed there for two successive years in 2006 and 2005, and the chalet often housed a vacationing Pope John Paul II as well.

Benedict XVI will stay at a residence that is property of the Salesians until July 29.

Upon his arrival by helicopter today, after a Rome-Turin flight, the Holy Father was welcomed by Bishop Giuseppe Anfossi of Aosta, and the mayor of Introd, Osvaldo Naudin. The residents of Introd and children from the school also turned out to welcome him; the children recited a poem and gave him a bouquet of flowers.

Some 40 journalists were also on hand. The Pontiff told them that his days in the Alps would be «vacation for rest and also a bit of work, but above all, rest.»

The journalists asked him for his thoughts on the Group of Eight summit held last week in Italy, and the Pope responded, «It seems to me that everything went very well.»

Natural beauty

Located about a mile above sea level, the residence where the Holy Father is staying lies on a property that the Salesians use for young people’s gatherings during the year and for summer camps.

From a large window in the dining room, the Holy Father can see Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest peak, and the forests that surround the chalet, which has a garden and a small square dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

At the entrance to the forest surrounding the villa, there is a tree-lined path with the Stations of the Cross.

Benedict XVI might use his days of rest to continue work on the second volume of «Jesus of Nazareth.» And a piano has been installed in the chalet — the Pope is a pianist and is known to especially love Mozart.

During his vacation, the Holy Father will not have general audiences, but he will pray the midday Sunday Angelus with pilgrims and give his customary public address.

In 2006, the Pope vacationed in the city of Bressanone, located in the northern Italian region Trentino-Alto Adige, where he had spent many vacations as a cardinal.

In 2007, Benedict XVI vacationed in Lorenzago di Cardore in Italy’s Veneto region.

After his stay in the Aosta Valley, the Holy Father will go to the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, some 19 miles south of Rome, where he will remain for the rest of the summer.

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