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Pope Benedict meets with priests, deacons of Valle d’Aosta, surprises reporters with brief interview

.- Before entering the church of Introd today for a meeting with priests and deacons of the Valle d’Aosta region of Italy, where he is currently vacationing, the Holy Father surprised journalists gathered outside by briefly answering questions. Asked if, after three months since his election, he found it difficult being Pope, Benedict responded, “Yes, in a certain sense it has been difficult, I had never thought of this ministry, but people are very good to me and support me."

Likewise, when asked if he felt close to his predecessor, John Paul II, the Pope replied that, "I always feel him very close, through his writings and through his spiritual presence."

Inside the church, Aosta’s Bishop Giuseppe Anfossi stressed the importance of the Pope's meeting with the 140 priests, religious and deacons, which, he said, reflects the "collegiality and communion on which the Church is founded."

Osvaldo Naudin, Introd’s mayor invited Pope Benedict to return to the Valle d’Aosta for his vacation next year and quipped that the Holy Father is learning the local dialogue well thanks to the “crash course” he has been following.

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