VATICAN CITY, MARCH 17, 2010 (Zenit.org).- At the end of today’s general audience in Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI was conferred honorary citizenship of the Italian city of Romano Canavese.
Here is a translation of the Pope’s address to those present.
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Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and Dear Brothers in the Priesthood
Lord Mayor and Municipal Counselors,
Ladies and Gentlemen!
I am very happy to receive honorary citizenship of the Municipality of Romano Canavese, to which I am connected by ties of affection. First of all because it is the place that gave birth to my very dear Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, whom I have known and esteemed for so many years, especially when I was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. I wish to renew to him my heartfelt gratitude for the precious service to the Holy See. Then, because I myself, on July 19 of last year, had the joy of visiting your region and of meeting the industrious people of Canavese. I address to each one of you my cordial greeting, in particular Bishop Arrigo Miglio of Ivrea and the mayor, Mr. Oscar Ferrero: thank you for your words, thank you for your thoughts, thank you for your prayers.
The conferring of honorary citizenship attests to the esteem, closeness and affection that you nourish in your meetings with me; with such a gesture, in a certain sense, you wished to receive me in the great family of Romano Canavese, even if my presence will not be able to be physical, but certainly cordial and paternal. I will feel in some way part of your glorious history, which sinks its roots in the second century before the birth of Christ and has had moments of particular importance, especially in the High Middle Ages and in the 19th century.
But, above all, what characterizes Romano Canavese is a long history of faith, which began with the blood of martyrs, among whom is St. Solutore, and reaches down to our days. On this occasion I renew my invitation to you to guard and cultivate the genuine values of your tradition and your culture, which are rooted in the Gospel. In particular to witness with ever new commitment faith in the crucified and risen Lord, attachment to the family, and the spirit of solidarity. Always trust in the help of God, who never abandons his children and is close with his loving concern to all those who work for goodness, peace and justice.
Dear friends, in renewing to you my sentiments of gratitude, I invoke on each one of you, on your families and on all the citizens the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of your Holy Patrons, so that they will continue to protect and guide your community. With affection I impart to each one of you and your fellow citizens, my fellow citizens now, a special apostolic blessing.