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Monday, November 8, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 7 NOV 2010 (VIS) - The departure ceremony at the end of the Holy Father's apostolic trip to Spain took place at Barcelona international airport at 7 p.m. today, in the presence of the Spanish monarchs.

  Following some brief words from King Juan Carlos, the Pope arose to pronounce his address.

  Benedict XVI expressed his appreciation for the presence of the King and Queen, and extended his thanks to the authorities, the archbishops of Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona, the Spanish episcopate, and everyone whose efforts had helped "to bring this journey to a happy conclusion".

  "At Compostela", he said, "I joined the many people from Spain, Europe and elsewhere who come to the tomb of the Apostle to fortify their faith and to receive forgiveness and peace. As Peter's Successor I also came to strengthen my brothers and sisters in the faith that at the very dawn of Christianity came to these lands and took such deep root that it has constantly shaped the spirit, customs, art and character of its peoples. The preservation of this rich spiritual patrimony demonstrates the love of your country for its history and culture, yet it is also a privileged way of transmitting to younger generations those fundamental values so necessary for building up a common future of harmony and solidarity.

  "The paths that cross Europe on the way to Santiago differed greatly, each marked by its own language and its particular characteristics, but the faith was the same", the Pope added. "May this faith find new vigour on this continent and become a source of inspiration. May it give rise to an attitude of solidarity towards all, especially towards those communities and nations in greater need".

  Speaking then in Catalan he recalled how he had consecrated the basilica of the Sagrada Familia and visited "an important charitable institution of the Church. They stand in today's Barcelona as two symbols of the fruitfulness of that faith which has marked this people deeply and which, through charity and the mystery of God's beauty, contributes to the creation of a society more worthy of man. Truly, beauty, holiness and the love of God enable people to live with hope in this world", he said.

  "I return to Rome after visiting only two places in this beautiful country. Nevertheless, in my thoughts and prayers, I have wished to embrace all Spaniards without exception and all those born elsewhere but now living here. I hold all of you in my heart and I pray for you, especially for those who suffer. I place you under the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy, so greatly venerated and invoked in Galicia, Catalonia and throughout Spain. I ask her to obtain for you from Almighty God abundant heavenly gifts, that you may live as one family, guided by the light of faith. I bless you in the name of the Lord. With His help, we will meet again next year in Madrid, to celebrate World Youth Day. Adios!"

  The Pope then boarded his aircraft for the return flight to Rome, where he arrived at 9 p.m. From Ciampino airport he then travelled by car to the Vatican, thus concluding the nineteenth apostolic trip of his pontificate.
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