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Pope begins summer vacation

Catholic World News - July 07, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI left the Vatican on Thursday evening, July 7, to begin his summer vacation.

The Pope traveled from Rome to Castel Gandolfo, where he will stay until September in the summer papal residence. For the first few weeks of his stay there he will be relaxing, and he will not hold his regular Wednesday audiences during the remaining weeks of July. In August he will resume those weekly public audiences, and do his regular work on a relaxed schedule. During the summer the Pontiff will greet the public at midday on Sundays and feast days in the courtyard of the apostolic palace at Castel Gandolfo.

In the earlier years of his pontificate, the Holy Father had taken a summer vacation in the Italian Alps before taking up residence at Castel Gandolfo. But last year and again this year he chose to forego the mountains and spend the time at his summer residence. Father Federico Lombardi, the papal spokesman, explained:

Now, as we know, Benedict XVI gladly accepted invitations to vacation in the mountains on a few occasions, but we also know that he enjoys his stay at Castel Gandolfo very much and perhaps has a greater guarantee of the rest which he needs and desires by going directly to Castel Gandolfo, rather than travelling to an unfamiliar place for a short period, which means a change in habits from the point of view of his surroundings as well as his daily routine.

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