MUNICH, Germany, SEPT. 14, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI bid farewell to Germany, summarizing the key message he wished to leave his homeland on his Bavaria visit: “Those who believe are never alone.”
At today’s conclusive ceremony of his fourth international apostolic trip, at Munich’s Franz Joseph Strauss International Airport, the Pope urged his countrymen to give witness of faith in the love of God “in today’s secularized world.”
“I was deeply moved by the enthusiasm and fervent devotion of the faithful who gathered to listen to the Word of God and to join in prayer,” the Holy Father said. “I was able to see how many people in Bavaria still today are endeavoring to journey in communion with their bishops along the paths of God and to testify to their faith in today’s secularized world.
“These have been busy days, when I relived many past events which have left a mark on my life.
“I came to Germany to bring once more to my fellow-citizens the eternal truths of the Gospel and to confirm believers in their fidelity to Christ, the Son of God, who became man for the salvation of the world.”
Benedict XVI continued: “I am convinced, in faith, that in Christ, in his word, we find the way not only to eternal happiness, but also to the building of a humane future even now, here below. Impelled by this conviction, the Church, led by the Spirit, has constantly looked to the Word of God so as to be able to respond to new historical challenges.”
The Pope concluded by entrusting “the present and future of Bavaria and of Germany to the intercession of all those saints who lived in Germany territory, faithfully serving Christ and experiencing in their lives the truth expressed in the words which have been like a leitmotif during the various parts of my visit: ‘Those who believe are never alone.'”
Present at the ceremony was the Bavarian state governor, Edmund Stoiber, who thanked Benedict XVI for the “impressive celebration of faith” that his trip to his homeland had been.
The plane that took the Pope from Munich to Rome, a Lufthansa Airbus 321, flew over the places where Joseph Ratzinger spent his childhood and youth: Marktl-am-Inn, where he was born; Tittmoning, where he spent the first years of his infancy; Aschau, where he attended elementary school; and Traunstein, where the Ratzinger family lived, and which the Pope considers his home.
The Holy Father sent telegrams to the mayors of these towns.
After landing at Rome’s Ciampino airport, the Pope went directly to the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, where this Friday, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone will take charge officially of the office of Vatican secretary of state.