Vatican City, Nov 26, 2006 / 22:00 pm America/Denver (CNA).Following his Sunday address and the praying of the Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI sent special greetings to the people of Turkey and asked for prayers that his trip might “bring the fruits that God desires.”
The Pontiff reminded the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, that tomorrow he will begin his apostolic trip to Turkey where, between November 28 and December 1, he will visit Ankara, Ephesus and Istanbul.
"From this moment," he said, "I would like to send my cordial greetings to the dear Turkish people, so rich in history and culture. To that people, and to their representatives, I extend sentiments of respect and sincere friendship."
Benedict XVI also mentioned the "deep emotion" he felt at having the opportunity to meet the country's "small Catholic community, which is ever present in my heart, and to unite myself fraternally with the Orthodox Church for the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle," on November 30.
"I trustingly follow the footsteps of my venerated predecessors, Paul VI and John Paul II, and I invoke the celestial protection of Blessed John XXIII who for ten years was apostolic delegate in Turkey and nourished great affection and respect for that country."
The Holy Father concluded his remarks by asking everyone to accompany him "with prayer, that this pilgrimage may bring the fruits that God desires."