Benedict leaves Bavaria “deeply moved” and offering thanks

.- Departing his beloved homeland for Rome today, Pope Benedict XVI told Germans that he had come simply to bring the message of the Gospel and “to confirm believers in their fidelity to Christ” and that he was encouraged by the faith he encountered.  The Pope had spent six days traveling to different sites important to his life.

Benedict spent a good deal of time offering his thanks to those who made the trip a success.  “I can only imagine the challenges, concerns and the work involved in organizing this stay in Bavaria,” he told the crowd, “many people had a part to play, both those from the Church, Regional and State agencies, and the many people who volunteered their time.”

The Pope said that he had been “deeply moved by the enthusiasm and fervent devotion of the faithful who gathered to listen to the Word of God and to join in prayer.”  And he noted especially that there are so many striving for faith in the midst of a “secularized world.”

“I came to Germany,” Benedict told the crowd, “to bring once more to my fellow-citizens the eternal truths of the Gospel and to confirm believers in their fidelity to Christ, the Son of God, who became man for the salvation of the world.”

“I am convinced, in faith, that in Christ, in his word, we find the way not only to eternal happiness, but also to the building of a humane future even now, here below,” he professed.

The Pope also noted that today marks the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical “Laborem Exercens.”  The letter, he said, could “prove very beneficial in Germany’s present situation.”  

The Pontiff specifically noted John Paul’s understanding of work as “something good for man.”  In the encyclical, Benedict noted, John Paul calls work, “a fundamental dimension of man’s existence on earth (No. 4),” insisting that "the primary basis of the value of work is man himself (No. 6).”  In work, the encyclical also says, “man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but also achieves fulfillment as a human being, and, in a certain sense, becomes more human (No. 9).”

Pope Benedict concluded his remarks, entrusting Bavaria and Germany to the many German saints, who, he said, experienced in their lives the truth expressed in the motto of his visit, “Those who believe are never alone.”

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