.- Concluding his traditional stay at Castelgandolfo Sunday, Pope Benedict offered thanks and blessings for the many personnel who worked to make his stay safe and successful.
Pope Benedict XVI bid his farewells to Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano (the diocese in which Castelgandolfo is located), the religious communities, the civil authorities and the personnel in charge of security during his stay in the summer residence.
The Pope said, "A dear salutation to the Jesuits of the Vatican Specola and the religious and lay communities present in Castelgandolfo. During these months I have felt their spiritual closeness and give them my heartfelt thanks, with the wish that all may correspond with renewed generosity to God's call, using all energies for the service of the Gospel."
The Holy Father also thanked the mayor and the municipal council and inhabitants of Castelgandolfo "who were so attentive to my person and to those who spent their summer with me." The Pope’s brother, Fr. Georg Ratzinger, is said to have spent a good deal of time at the Pontifical retreat and the Pope’s personal staff, including his personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein.
Benedict XVI also praised the "courtesy and hospitality (...) for the many pilgrims and visitors who came to see the Pope, especially for the Sunday Angelus."
He went on to express his appreciation to all those who served and protected him, mentioning also, the members of the airforce who offered their services to transport the Pope by helicopter a few times.
"To each and everyone,” the Pope said, “my most sincere thanks and the assurance of a constant memory in prayer for each of you as well as those dear to you."
He concluded by asking "God to recompense all for their dedication and faithfulness with which you accomplished the duties entrusted to you."
Since the 16th century, Pope’s have traditionally worked from their residence in the lakeside town of Castelgandolfo during the months of August and September – when many Romans escape the oppressive heat of Rome by heading to the mountains or beaches of Italy.