In an interview with the Italian daily Il Giornale, Pope Benedict XVI’s personal secretary, Father Georg Ganswein, revealed interesting details about the Pontiff’s vacation in the northern Italian region of Lorenzago de Cadore.
Father Ganswein called the Pope’s time of rest and prayer, “a bit monastic and Benedictine,” and he said the Pope enjoyed encountering children during his afternoon walks.
Many children the Pope ran into offered him flowers “that they quickly picked from the fields,” while the adults that crossed paths with him were often “timid and didn’t know what to say. They were short on words.”
The Pope’s day usually began with Mass, followed by “thanksgiving, the breviary and meditation.” After breakfast, the Pope spent time “reading and studying” until the early afternoon. Following lunch, he went for walks in the nearby parks. During the evening the Pontiff spent time playing the piano.
Father Ganswein also explained that during his vacation time, the Pope has remained aware of the international situation and has maintained constant contact with the Vatican Secretary of State and with his closest collaborators.
During the interview, Father Ganswein also spoke about certain aspects of the Pope’s personality and behavior. Speaking about the Pope’s “simple and moderate” gestures, he said the Holy Father “does not seek applause” or attention, but rather his desire is “to guide the faithful towards Christ.”
He said the Pope at times is “surprised and even amazed” at the faithful’s expression of affection and sympathy and that Benedict XVI responds to them with “warm expressions that he has now learned.”