.- Pope Benedict XVI concluded his historic trip to Brazil Sunday, saying that the residents of South America “have given whole-hearted proof of their faith in Christ” and their love for the office of the Pope.
The Holy Father departed Sunday evening from the International Airport of Sao Paulo / Guarulhos where he was met by Jose Alencar Gomes da Silva, vice-president of the Federal Republic of Brazil, Archbishop Odilo Pedro Scherer of Sao Paulo, Bishop Luiz Gonzaga Bergonzini of Guarulhos, and numerous other religious and civil authorities.
Before boarding his Alitalia flight bound for Rome, Pope Benedict conveyed his pleasure at the opportunity to inaugurate the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean. He said that "The signs of enthusiasm and the deep piety of this people of the Land of the Holy Cross will remain for ever impressed in my memory.”
He added his prayer "that the Lord will assist religious and civil leaders to give renewed impulse to the initiatives that are awaited by all for the common good of the great Latin American family."
In addition to his work with the Episcopal conference in Aparecida, the Holy Father also spent time with numerous religious authorities and orders of religious during his pastoral visit. He ended his brief airport address thanking everyone for having "contributed to the splendor of these days, filling those taking part with joy and hope - 'gaudium et spes!' - for the Christian family and for its mission in society."
After landing on Rome, the Pope proceeded directly to his Castelgandolfo summer residence where he will remain through the week.
Read the full homily for the inauguration of the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops at: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/homilies/2007/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20070513_conference-brazil_en.html