.- Pope Benedict XVI will complete his stay at the papal summer residence tomorrow, and as final preparations are being made for his return to Rome, he addressed the local bishop, religious, local civil authorities and security personnel on the topic of angels.
Today marks the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, the Pope pointed out to Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano (the diocese in which Castelgandolfo is located) and the assembled crowd. With this Feast in mind, he prayed, "let us trustingly invoke their help, and the protection of the Guardian Angels, whose feast we will celebrate in a few day's time, on October 2."
Although angels are not visible, their presence "brings us great help and consolation: they walk at our side and protect us in all circumstances, they defend us from danger, and to them we can turn at any moment," Benedict XVI explained.
He further added that, "Many saints established bonds of real friendship with the angels, and numerous episodes testify to their assistance on particular occasions. Angels are sent by God 'to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation' as the Letter to the Hebrews says, hence they are a real help to us on the pilgrimage towards the heavenly homeland."
This afternoon, the Pope is due to bid farewell to the staff of the Pontifical Villas at Castel Gandolfo, before returning to the Vatican tomorrow.