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Friday, May 14, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 14 MAY 2010 (VIS) - At 1.30 p.m. today, the Pope arrived at the international airport of the city of Porto for the departure ceremony at the end of his apostolic trip to Portugal. Following a greeting by Anibal Cavaco Silva, president of the Republic of Portugal, the Holy Father pronounced his address.

He began by expressing his "sincere gratitude" to the president, bishops, government and all the civil and military authorities "who have done their utmost with visible dedication throughout the entire journey. I offer you all good wishes. The communications media have enabled me to reach out to many people who were unable to see me in person. To them too I am most grateful", he said.

"To all the Portuguese, whether Catholic or not, to the men and women who live here, whether born here or elsewhere, I extend my greetings at this moment of leave-taking. May you live in increasing harmony with one another, a prerequisite for genuine cohesion and the only way to address the challenges before you with shared responsibility. May this glorious nation continue to manifest greatness of spirit, a profound sense of God and an openness to solidarity, governed by principles and values imbued with Christian humanism. In Fatima I prayed for the whole world, asking that the future may see an increase in fraternity and solidarity, greater mutual respect and renewed trust and confidence in God, our heavenly Father.

"It has been a joy for me to witness the faith and devotion of the Portuguese ecclesial community", the Holy Father added. "I was able to see the enthusiasm of the children and young people, the faithfulness of the priests, deacons and religious, the pastoral dedication of the bishops, the desire to search for truth and evident beauty in the world of culture, the resourcefulness of the social pastoral workers, the vibrancy of faith among the lay faithful in the dioceses that I visited. I hope that my visit may become an incentive for renewed spiritual and apostolic ardour. May the Gospel be accepted in its entirety and witnessed with passion by every disciple of Christ, so that it may show itself to be a leaven of authentic renewal for the whole of society".

The departure ceremony over, the Pope boarded his plane for the return journey to Rome, where he is due to arrive at Ciampino airport at 6 p.m. From there he will travel to the Vatican by helicopter.
PV-PORTUGAL/ VIS 20100514 (420)

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