.- Southern Germany is overcome with enthusiasm and expectation for the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI.
In what a spokesman for the Diocese of Regensburg has called “an authentic catechesis,” State television and radio in the region are programming a wide array of reports on the events, personalities, and Catholic places linked to the Pontiff.
Numerous web pages have been created to offer people the chance to send virtual postcards from Pentling, the location of the house where the Pope lived with his sister Maria when he was professor in Regensburg until he was named Archbishop of Munich.
The papal colors have decorated the entire city and stores have stocked up on items related to the visit, such as special candles, plates, medals, and even stuffed bears dressed as the Pope.
Local businessmen have created special beers and lemonade with labels showing the face of Benedict watching over the city of Regensburg with fatherly care.
But the most important sign of the impact of the Pope’s visit has been the decision by BMW to halt its daily production of 1000 cars and to close its manufacturing facility located about one mile from “the Pope’s Meadow,” so that workers who wish will be able to participate in the Papal Mass scheduled for September 12.
Many of the streets the Pope will be traveling are being specially prepared, while neighbors and students are decorating the house and the street where the Pope will spend his private day in Pentling.