CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 27, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the farewell address Benedict XVI gave today to civil and religious authorities of Castel Gandolfo, as well as to others who work at the papal summer residence there.
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Dear brothers and sisters,
Before leaving Castel Gandolfo at the end of the summer, I am happy to meet with all of you who represent the ecclesial and civil community of this pleasant city that I so love, where Providence grants me every year to spend a peaceful and fruitful stay.
First of all, my fraternal greeting and cordial gratitude go to the bishop of Albano, Marcello Semeraro, a greeting I extend to the whole diocese, which I follow with special affection in prayer in its life of faith and Christian witness. I also greet the parish priest of Castel Gandolfo and the parish community, together with the various men’s and women’s religious institutes that live and work here to joyfully serve the Gospel and the brethren.
I address a deferent greeting to the Lord Mayor and to the members of the Communal Administration, expressing once again my sincere gratitude for the indispensable contribution they make, each in their own responsibilities, so that Castel Gandolfo can adequately receive the numerous pilgrims who come here from all parts of the world. Through you, I wish to communicate to your fellow citizens my heartfelt appreciation for the well-known courtesy and solicitous attention with which they surround me and follow my activities at the service of the universal Church.
I would also like to cordially thank the directors and all the members of the Services of the Governorate, beginning with the police corps, the florists, the health department and technical services, as well as the Swiss Papal Guard. Dear friends, I express to all of you a special “thanks” for the solicitude and professionalism with which you worked to meet my needs, those of my collaborators, and those of all who, during these summer months, have come to Castello to visit me. I assure each one of you and your families of my constant remembrance in prayer.
A heartfelt thought of gratitude also goes to the employees and agents of the different Italian security forces, for their reliable and efficient work, as well as the officers and pilots of the 31st Squadron of Military Aeronautics. I thank God and I am grateful to all of you, because everything was carried out always in order and tranquility.
In taking leave of you, I wish to entrust to your consideration the figure of St. Vincent de Paul, whose memorial we celebrate today. This apostle of charity, so loved by the Christian people and known especially through the sisters founded by him, was proclaimed by Pope Leo XIII “universal patron of all works of charity spread throughout the world.” With his incessant apostolic action, he made the Gospel become increasingly a luminous beacon of hope and love for the men of his time and, in particular, for the poorest in body and spirit. May his virtuous example and his intercession inspire in your communities and in each one of you a renewed commitment of solidarity, so that the efforts of each one may cooperate in the building of the common good.
I accompany this cordial greeting with the assurance of my remembrance to the Lord, so that he will assist you all and your families with his grace and fill you with abundant consolations. I thank you again, dear friends, and bless you from my heart.[Translation by ZENIT]