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Tuesday, September 20, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 20 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a message to British Catholics to mark the first anniversary of his apostolic trip to the United Kingdom. In the text, which bears the signature of Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., the Pope expresses his gratitude for the "warm welcome" he received in Britain.

A Mass of thanksgiving was held last Sunday in London's Westminster Cathedral, attended by local bishops and seminarians, as well as by representatives from the Anglican Church and the government. In his message, the Holy Father expresses the hope that the celebration "may serve as a fresh exhortation to respond to the challenge launched one year ago: ... to bear joyful witness to the truth of the Gospel, which frees our minds and illuminates our efforts to live wisely and well in society".

The Pope likewise encourages seminarians "to keep their gaze on Jesus Christ" as they dedicate themselves completely to their intellectual and spiritual formation, and "to become heralds of the new evangelisation". In closing Benedict XVI entrusts the United Kingdom to the intercession of Cardinal Newman, whom he beatified during the course of his trip last year.
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VATICAN CITY, 20 SEP 2011 (VIS) - As part of its initiatives to mark the Day for the Protection of Creation, the Italian agricultural organisation "Coldiretti" has given Benedict XVI eight beehives containing more than 500,000 bees. The beehives will be kept at the pontifical farm of Castelgandolfo where they will be used in pollination and the production of honey (some 280 kilos a year).

Coldiretti explained that bees play a vital role in the planet's ecosystem and their disappearance would have disastrous consequences for health and the environment: a third of human food production depends on crops pollinated by insects, eighty percent of which are bees.

The "Campagna Amica" Association will provide technical assistance to the pontifical farms to oversee the protection of the bees and the production of honey. Castelgandolfo is considered to be a model farm because it unites traditional production methods with modern technology. It has 25 dairy cows, 300 hens and 60 cockerels as well as an ancient olive grove producing three thousand litres of oil a year, an orchard of apricot and peach trees and a greenhouse of ornamental flowers.
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