CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, OCT. 1, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of Benedict XVI’s farewell address to religious and civil staff of Castel Gandolfo, whom he received today in the Swiss Hall of the Apostolic Palace, before returning to Vatican City.
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Dear brothers and sisters,
About to end also this year is the summer period that I usually spend in the residence of Castel Gandolfo. These months have given me the opportunity to see up close the generous dedication and competent work carried out by so many persons to ensure every assistance to me and my collaborators, to guests and to pilgrims who come to visit me, especially on Sunday for the traditional appointment of the Angelus. For all this I renew my sincere gratitude to each one of you, as I bid farewell to this beautiful and enchanting town, which I love.
I greet and thank first of all the bishop of Albano Laziale, Marcello Semeraro, the parish priest and the parish community of Castel Gandolfo, along with the different religious communities that live and work here. Through the different meetings, I have been able to see the spiritual fervor that animates the whole local Church of Albano, which I encourage to progress with renewed enthusiasm in proclaiming and witnessing the Gospel.
I also address a deferential greeting to the Lord Mayor and to all the members of the municipality’s administration, who always work to facilitate my stay here in the Castel. On thanking you for the fruitful collaboration you have during the whole year with the administration of the papal villas, I am happy to take this occasion to extend my sentiments of affection and gratitude to the whole population of Castel Gandolfo.
I now address the directors and workers of the different services of the Governorate, beginning with the Corps of Gendarmes, the “Floreria” and the technical services. Dear friends, also here in Castel Gandolfo I can appreciate the abnegation that distinguishes you in your work at the service of the Successor of Peter. I assure you and your families of my constant remembrance in prayer. I also address with lively cordiality my greeting and gratitude to the Papal Swiss Guard, whose presence here in the Apostolic Palace and in the meetings of the Pope with pilgrims contributes visibly to offer visitors an even more efficient reception.
A thought of sincere gratitude goes also to officials and agents of the different Italian Forces of Order, for their constant collaboration, as also to the officers and pilots of the 31st squadron of the Military Aeronautics. I thank everyone for the qualified service, which contributes to make my stay and that of my collaborators a serene one, and which is so useful to me on my helicopter trips.
Dear brothers and sisters, to you all I repeat once again my heartfelt gratitude. Today the Church remembers St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Carmelite of the Lisieux convent. Her testimony shows that only the word of God, received and understood in its concrete demands, becomes a source of renewed life. To our society, often permeated by a rationalist culture and widespread practical materialism, little Thérèse of Lisieux points out, as the answer to the great questions of life, the “little way,” which looks instead to the essential of things. It is the humble way of love, capable of enveloping and of giving meaning and value to every human circumstance. Dear friends, follow the example of this saint; the way followed by her is within everyone’s reach, because it is the way of total confidence in God, who is Love and who never abandons us.
Thank you once again for your presence in this meeting; thank you in a special way to those who have made themselves interpreters of your sentiments. I entrust you all to the maternal intercession of the Holy Virgin, and impart my heartfelt apostolic blessing, which I extend to your families and loved ones.[Translation by ZENIT]