Benedict XVI: "Happy to Be in Castel Gandolfo"

Will Work From Summer Residence Until October

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 31, 2009 ( «I am happy to be in Castel Gandolfo, in this beautiful city, and I hope to be with you for a few weeks,» Benedict XVI affirmed Wednesday afternoon as he arrived to his summer residence on the shores of Lake Albano.

Today, L’Osservatore Romano reported that the Pope was welcomed to Castel Gandolfo by his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone; the president and secretary-general of the Governor’s Office for Vatican City State, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo and Archbishop Carlo Viganò, respectively; and the vicar-general of the Diocese of Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini.

As well, the bishop of Albano, Marcello Semeraro, was on hand, as were Bishop Giorgio Corbellini, president of the Labor Office of the Apostolic See; the parish priest and mayor of Castel Gandolfo; and the directors of the pontifical residence and the Vatican Observatory.

The Holy Father greeted and thanked them in a discourse interrupted by applause. He assured them that he had spent «beautiful days» in the Aosta Valley, «despite my small accident» (referring to the fall that fractured his right wrist).

The Pontiff arrived to Castel Gandolfo from the Alps of northern Italy, where he spent a little more than two weeks for his annual summer vacation.

He expressed his best wishes for everyone, adding he hoped that in the measure possible, they would have a time of rest and vacation, Vatican Radio reported.

The Bishop of Rome also came to the window of the pontifical residence to bless the faithful and local residents who had gathered in the plaza.

Benedict XVI travelled to Castel Gandolfo by car from Rome’s Ciampino airport. He had arrived there in a helicopter taken from Turin-Caselle, near Introd where he vacationed.

At Ciampino, he was welcomed by the «sostituto» of general affairs of the Secretariat of State, Archbishop Fernando Filloni; the secretary for relations with states, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti; the apostolic nuncio in Italy, Archbishop Giuseppe Bertello; and the bishop for the Italian armed forces, Archbishop Vincenzo Pelvi.

Back to work

On Saturday, the Pope will begin again his public audiences, receiving some 700 people from the FINA world swimming championship, being held in Rome.

The next day, he will pray the midday Angelus from the window overlooking the plaza.

On Aug. 5, he will recommence his Wednesday audience catecheses.

During his time at Castel Gandolfo, the Pope has two trips planned: a one-day pastoral visit to Viterbo-Bagnoregio, Italy, on Sept. 6, and a three day journey to the Czech Republic that will begin Sept. 26.

While visiting Viterbo, the Holy Father will stop to venerate the relics of St. Bonaventure, one of the primary influences in his theological studies.

The pontifical residence in Castel Gandolfo has been used by the popes since the 17th century and it is one of the properties of Vatican City State, as designated by the Lateran Pacts of 1929.

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