POPE LEAVES THE ALPS AND RETURNS TO CASTELGANDOLFO

July 31, 2009

VATICAN CITY, 30 JUL 2009 (VIS) - Benedict XVI’s two-week holiday at Les Combes came to an end yesterday with a ceremony held at midday in which he bid farewell to the police, fire service and Italian civil protection for their help and vigilance during his stay.

“You have been like angels”, the Pope told them. “Angels are invisible but also efficient. So you too have been. You were invisible to me, but always efficient”.

“Unfortunately”, he joked, “my own guardian angel did not prevent my accident. … Perhaps the Lord wished to teach me greater patience and humility, to give me more time for prayer and meditation”.

In the afternoon, having bid farewell to Bishop Giuseppe Anfossi of Aosta and the local and regional authorities, the Holy Father travelled by helicopter to the northern Italian city of Turin where he boarded his flight for Rome. Having landed at Rome’s Ciampino airport, he continued his journey by car to his summer residence of Castelgandolfo.

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