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The community of Castel Gandolfo welcomes Benedict XVI

· Arrival in the late afternoon of Tuesday, 3 July ·

For the second year in a row Benedict XVI will pass the entire summer period in the residence of the Pontifical Villas in Castel Gandolfo, where he arrived around 6:00 p.m. yesterday, Tuesday, 3 July. A  decision which in a certain sense was announced last year when, upon arriving, he explained his preference for the small town in Lazio where he is certain to find everything that he needs in order to spend a quiet time of repose immersed in nature. “Mountains, the lake and even the sea” next to “a beautiful church” among “good people”, he said. Many “dear friends”,  he greeted his temporary neighbours as soon as he arrived. As soon as he arrived he made his joy know to them, in fact he went to the balcony of the palace and to the many people who gathered in the small square below to welcome him, expressed his happiness: “I came here to begin my vacation. I wish everyone a good rest”, he said, adding his wish that all would be able to enjoy the fresh air that Castel Gandolfo offers. “Let us hope”, he continued, “that the Lord will give us a good vacation that we may be renewed spiritually and physically in this small town surrounded by the beauty of creation”. He concluded by thanking the people for their presence and wished them once again a happy vacation.

The Pontiff left Vatican City in a helicopter with the Prefect of the Pontifical Household, Archbishop  Michael Harvey; and the Regent, Bishop Paolo De Nicolò; and  Mons. Georg Gänswein, his Private Secretary and Mons. Alfred Xuereb of the Personal Secretariat. At the heliport he was welcomed by Cardinal  Giuseppe Bertello, President of the Governorate of Vatican City State, with the General Secretary, Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca; Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano; Vice Director of the Specola Vaticana, Fr Josef Mai; Parish priest of the Pontifical Parish of San Tommaso da Villanova, Don Pietro Diletti, and the Director of the Pontifical Villas, Saverio Petrillo.

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