Pope Benedict left Castel Gandolfo this morning and has greeted and blessed the town.

According to Castelli News, Mayor of Castel Gandolfo Milvia Monachesi thanked the retired Pope, saying, "Your Holiness, thank you very much for your unexpected and most welcome words," for the blessing and for a book that Benedict had gifted her. She expressed how meaningful it is to have Benedict there with them, how loved he is and that he is always welcome.

The Pontiff Emeritus has spent the past two weeks in the papal residence near Rome after having been invited by Pope Francis to spend some time there this summer.  

On June 30, Pope Francis bid farewell to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as he departed from the Vatican. That morning, Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi confirmed, the two Popes spoke about a half hour together.

While in Castel Gandolfo, on the morning of Saturday July 6, Benedict XVI was conferred an hononary doctorate from Krakow's John Paul II Pontifical University and Academy of Music and gave an address to those present. Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow and Grand Chancellor of the John Paul II Pontifical University, conferred the two degrees.

During the hot summers in Rome, traditionally, Castel Gandolfo had been the residence where the Pope would go. Pope Francis has elected not to do so, choosing to remain in his residence at Casa Santa Marta.


On ZENIT's Web page:

Benedict Is Conferred Honorary Doctorate at Castel Gandolfo: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/benedict-xvi-without-pope-john-paul-ii-my-theological-journey-would-not-have-been-imaginable