The Italian region of Alto Adige, where Pope Benedict XVI is spending his vacations and where a small but active German-speaking Catholic community resides, is experiencing a renewal of faith with the presence of the Holy Father in the region.
Bishop Wilhelm Egger of Bolzano-Bressanone told reporters that the enthusiasm of local residents, both German and Italian-speaking, was expressed in the large welcome the Holy Father received on Monday upon arriving in Bressanone.
In addition, he said, thousands of people in the region are requesting permission to attend the Angelus with the Holy Father on August 3 and 10—one of the few public acts the Pope will host during his vacation.
Officials said giant TV screens will be set up near the Cathedral of Bressanone to accommodate the large crowds.
The Pope’s coat-of-arms has been placed over the main entrance to the Cathedral in homage “to the numerous times Professor and Cardinal Ratzinger has prayed in this very Cathedral, celebrated Mass and proclaimed the Word of God.”
The Bressanone City Council has granted the Pontiff honorary citizenship and a small private ceremony of bestowal will be held on August 9 at the Seminary of Bressanone.