Posted 7/24/09 in the BENEDICT thread:
AN IMPROMPTU PASTORAL VISIT
The setting: The city and diocese of Aosta, with its newly-restored Cathedral of the Assumption.
Aosta, 110 kms north-northwest of Turin, is the capital of Val D'Aosta region, and is located near the entrance to the Mont Blanc tunnel through the Alps, and near the junction of the Great St. Bernard and Little St. Bernard passes.
Aosta, named for the Emperor Augustus, dates back to the Augusta Praetorium Salassorum colony established by the Romans in 25 BC. The Augustan Arch, below left, is one of the entrances to the city.
The Pope rode through the center of Aosta from the Augustan Arch to the Cathedral in an improvised Popemobile.
Below, passing through the main square in front of City Hall.
At the Cathedral, the improvised 'Popemobile' went around the Church and through the crowd gathered in the square before the Pope got off.
Inside the Cathedral.
Greeting the faithful after Vespers.
The only wrap-up story of sorts that I have seen so far is this one from a local Aosta online paper, and it is sketchy
The Pope wishes everyone
a good vacation -
without an accident
di Domenico Albiero
July 24, 2009
"Thank you for your welcome, for the affection and the sympathy, Let us hope for good weather during the vacation period, as I too am on vacation," adding, "And without any accident, unlike what happened to me!"
The Pope said farewell to the Aostans this evening after celebrating Vespers at the Cathedral of Aosta. Not realizing that outside, the first few drops of rain were coming down.
It was an occasion to meet the Catholic community of Val D'Aosta and the the thousands of tourists and curious onlookers who waited for him along the route that separates the Augustan Arch from Piazza Giovanni XXIII.
People had started to gather in the city center in the early afternoon
in the hope of seeing the Pope when he arrived for Vespers with the diocesan clergy and parish representatives from all over Val D'Aosta.
Welcomed at the Augustan Arch by civilian authorities and the Bishop of Aosta, Mons. Giuseppe Anfossi, when he arrived by car from les Combes, the Pope reached the Cathedral around 5:15 p.m. after a motorcade through the city center.
He was escorted into the cathedral by the canons of the cathedral chapter.
In his extemporaneous homily, the Pope spoke of a God who was not remote but comes close to man in his suffering.
"A society without God is a society without a compass", he said, "unable to find an orientation to face, for instance, the present economic crisis, but also suffering and tragedy."
Before the Vespers, there was an exchange of gifts. The Pope gave Mons. Anfossi a chalice to commemorate the occasion, and the bishop gave him a set of liturgical vestments.
Vespers closed with the most traditional hymn of the Church in Val D'Aosta, the hymn to Mary as "O Reine immaculee'. (Like much of northwestern Italy near the Alps, Aosta is bilingual in Italian and French.)
Before going back to his vacation home in Les Combes, the Pope was scheduled to visit the home for the aged in Introd, the municipal commune to which Les Combes belongs.
has a brief item that points out something I would otherwise not have noticed.
The Pope was not wearing
the Fisherman's ring today
And Fr. Lombardi explained that for the past few days, the Holy Father has not been wearing the ring 'to simplify things', since his right forearm and hand are in a cast and in a sling, and especially since he has no public events.
[But the Vespers in Aosta was public. Obviously, neither GG nor Paolo the valet, who was riding in the front passenger seat of the Pope's jeep today, noticed nor reminded him.... It doesn't matter: we know he's the Pope!]
BTW, it just occurred to me, looking at the pictures tonight, that providing security for the Pope has got to be the most challenging security task on earth. No President of the United States - after JFK was shot in Dallas - ever has to ride an open car as the Pope does, or address audiences in open air regularly at a known place and time as the Pope does for his Wednesday audiences and any of his other scheduled public events. In short, no one is as vulnerable because no one is as exposed.
We must trust that Inspector Giani and his Italian counterparts are in 'continuing education' with the top minds of the US Secret Service and the Israeli Mossad on the state of the art of assuring the safety and minimizing the risk to their super-precious charge!
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/16/2009 10:58 PM]