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Benedict XVI arrives at Castel Gandolfo

· His arrival in the afternoon of Thursday the 7th ·

“Dear friends, I wish you all a good evening! I came here to begin my vacation and here I find everything: mountains, the lake, and even the sea; a beautiful church with a renewed façade and good people. For these reasons, I am happy to be here. Let us hope that the Lord will give us a good vacation. I impart my blessing to all of you, with all my heart. Good evening and thank you”.

So began the first greeting of the Pope to the community of Castel Gandolfo which welcomed him, with their usual outpouring of affection, in the late afternoon of Thursday, 7 July, when he came to the window of the Pontifical Palace where he will spend the summer months.

Also giving voice this year to the people of Castel Gandolfo in response to the Pope, is the new bell of the parish of San Tommaso da Villanova. The Pope himself blessed the bell during the 15 June audience in St Peter’s Square. The bell is part of a larger project of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, which includes not only the restoration of the ancient wrought iron bell tower, which has been without a bell for some time, but also the restoration of the Bernini façade, restored to its former splendour. A detail which the Pope noticed upon opening the window and did not fail to mention. The restoration was organized to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the priestly ordination of Benedict XVI, whose name and papal coat of arms have been engraved on the bell. Beginning this year and for those to come, the bell will ring to announce the arrival of the Pope at Castel Gandolfo.

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