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Thursday, July 30, 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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VATICAN CITY, 30 JUL 2009 (VIS) - Following are highlights of the activities of Pope Benedict XVI and of the Holy See for the months of January to March 2009. Another summary, covering the period from April to July, will be published tomorrow.


1: In the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father presides at Mass for the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, which also marks the 42nd World Day of Peace the theme of which is "Fighting Poverty to Build Peace".

3: Publication of a Letter from the Pope, written in Latin and dated 28 December 2008, in which he appoints Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. as papal legate to the Sixth World Meeting of Families, to be celebrated in Mexico City from 13 to 18 January.

11: Cardinal Pio Laghi, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Catholic Education and patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, dies at the age of 86.

14-18: Sixth World Meeting of Families celebrated in Mexico City on the theme: "The family, teacher of human and Christian values". To all the faithful who participate devotedly in the event, the Holy Father grants Plenary Indulgence under the usual conditions: sacramental Confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.

16: Benedict XVI receives prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Iran at the end of their "ad limina" visit. The conference is made up of ordinaries of the Armenian, Chaldean and Latin Churches.

18-25: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the theme of which, taken from the Prophet Ezechiel, is: "That they may become one in your hand".

18: Benedict XVI announces that the Italian city of Milan will be the site of the next World Meeting of Families, due to take place in spring 2012 on the theme "The Family, Work and Feast".

20: Cardinal Stephanos II Ghattas, C.M., patriarch emeritus of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt, dies at the age of 89.

23: Benedict XVI receives in audience Branko Crvenkovski, president of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

23: Benedict XVI receives bishops of the Syriac Catholic Church, led by His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, elected as patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians by the Synod of Bishops of the Syriac Catholic Church, meeting in Rome from 18 to 20 January.

23: Publication of the Holy Father's Message for the 43rd World Day of Social Communications, to be celebrated on 24 May on the theme: "New Technologies, New Relationships: Promoting a culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship".

24: Holy Father receives prelates from the Chaldean Church at the end of their "ad limina" visit. During the audience the bishops give the Pope a cape used by Archbishop Faraj Rahho of Mosul and a stole belonging to Fr. Ragheed Aziz Ganni, both killed in Iraq over recent months.

26: Benedict XVI receives the Letters of Credence of Stanislas Lefebvre de Laboulaye, the new French ambassador to the Holy See.

29: Holy Father receives prelates from the Conference of Catholic Bishops of the Russian Federation at the end of their "ad limina" visit.


2: Holy Father receives the Letters of Credence of Janos Balassa, the new ambassador of Hungary to the Holy See.

2: Pope receives bishops from the Episcopal Conference of Turkey at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

3: Presentation of the Holy Father's 2009 Lenten Message, on the theme: "He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry".

7: Publication of the Holy Father's Message for the seventeenth World Day of the Sick, which is celebrated every year on 11 February, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

9: Pope receives the Letters of Credence of Luiz Felipe de Seixas Correa, the new ambassador of Brazil to the Holy See.

12: Benedict XVI receives the Letters of Credence of Timothy Andrew Fischer, the new ambassador of Australia to the Holy See.

12: Benedict XVI attends a concert commemorating the eightieth anniversary of the foundation of Vatican City State. Our Lady's Choral Society and the RTE Concert Orchestra, both from Dublin, Ireland, play the "Messiah" by Georg Friedrich Handel.

14: Benedict XVI receives prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria at the end of their "ad limina" visit.

16: Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, archbishop emeritus of Seoul, Korea, dies at the age of 86.

19: Benedict XVI receives in audience Gordon Brown, prime minister of the United Kingdom.

22: Cardinal Paul Joseph Pham Dinh Tung, archbishop emeritus of Hanoi, Vietnam, dies at the age of 89.

27: Holy Father receives in audience Masud Barazani, president of the Autonomous Kurdish Region in Iraq.


1: Russian Orthodox church of St. Nicholas in the Italian city of Bari is returned to the custody of the Patriarchate of Moscow in the course of solemn ceremony held there today. During the celebration, Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, archbishop emeritus of Palermo, Italy, reads out a Message from the Holy Father.

3-7: International conference on the theme: "Biological Evolution: Facts and Theories. A critical appraisal 150 years after 'The origin of species'", is held at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

9: Benedict XVI visits Rome Town Hall, located on the city's Capitoline Hill, where he meets Mayor Gianni Alemanno and other civic leaders.

12: Publication of a Letter of Pope Benedict XVI to the bishops of the Catholic Church concerning the remission of the excommunication of the four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre.

14: Benedict XVI receives a first group of prelates from the Argentinean Episcopal Conference at the conclusion of their "ad limina" visit.

14: Benedict XVI receives in audience Edward Fenech Adami, president of the Republic of Malta.

16: Announcement of the Year for Priests, to be held from 19 June 2009 to 11 June 2010 on the theme: "Faithfulness of Christ, faithfulness of priests". The year marks the 150th anniversary of the death of John Mary Vianney, the holy "Cure of Ars".

17-23: Benedict XVI's apostolic trip to Cameroon and Angola.

19: For the occasion of the Solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary and Patron of the Universal Church, the official website of the Holy See is enhanced by the addition of a new section in Chinese.

27: Benedict XVI receives in audience Demetris Christofias, president of the Republic of Cyprus.

29: On this fifth Sunday of Lent, the Pope visits the parish of the Holy Face of Jesus, located in the Magliana neighbourhood in the western sector of the diocese of Rome.

31: Publication of Benedict XVI's Message for the 46th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, to be celebrated on 3 May on the theme: "Faith in the divine initiative - the human response".
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