"The Holy Father doesn't put himself at the center, he doesn't announce himself, but Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the World," writes the Pope's personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Gänswein on the inside cover of his new book that describes the travels of Pope Benedict XVI.
"Benedict XVI, Urbi et Orbi. With the Pope on the Paths of the World," has been published in German and Italian and was presented last week in commemoration of the the fifth anniversary of the Pope's election.
Commenting on the Pope's faithful response to the Lord's call to "go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature," Msgr. Gänswein explains that the specific purpose behind each and every Papal event is "to strengthen brothers and sisters in the faith."
However, adds the Pope's secretary, that's not say that there aren't unique elements to each encounter. Every one has "its own character, it possesses its specific dynamic and unmistakable tone."
Msgr. Gänswein describes the desire he witnesses daily in people from all parts of the world who come to Rome to be physically close to the Holy Father, to "follow in his footsteps" and to be guided to the "right track."
"But," he continues, "the opposite is also true: the Successor of Peter goes out into the world to all of the people of good will." He does so with a simple and deep message: that "faith is not a problem to solve, it's a gift that is newly discovered."
"And even if all of the cameras are pointed at the Pope, it's not so much about him. The Holy Father doesn't put himself at the center, he doesn't announce himself, but Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the World," the Pope's personal secretary says.
For the Pope, concludes Msgr. Gänswein, leading people to the gift of faith is a "sacred task" and "with words and images this book gives witness to it."
The extensive volume offers pictures of papal visits outside of the Vatican from the last five years, including segments of his addresses from each occasion and a brief account of Msgr. Gänswein's impressions. The book is not yet available in English.