Benedict XVI Calls Vacation "a Gift of God"

Says Respite Good for Mind and Body

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 8, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Vacation is a "gift of God," says Benedict XVI, that allows one to revive the physical and spiritual energies necessary for life's journey.



In an address today to those gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus, the Pope wished to all, "especially those most in need, the possibility of taking a little vacation to reinvigorate your physical and spiritual energies and recover a salutary contact with nature."

The Holy Father will spend this summer's holidays in Lorenzago di Cadore, in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy. He will stay July 9-27 in a house owned by the Diocese of Treviso, located in the Dolomites, an Alpine mountain range.

"The mountain air will be good for me and I will be able to dedicate myself more freely to reflection and prayer," the Pontiff said.

The house is the same one where his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, had stayed on six occasions between 1987 and 1998.

Surrounded by a forest, the locale is used for seminarians' summer holidays and for youth formation courses. It is being renovated and will be equipped with a piano.

In 2005 and 2006, Benedict XVI spent his holidays in Les Combes, in the Aosta Valley, in northwestern Italy. John Paul II had also vacationed there on numerous occasions.

Upward

In his address today in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI praised the mountains, which "in particular, evoke the upward ascent of the spirit, the elevation toward the 'high measure' of our humanity, which daily life unfortunately tends to abase."

In greeting the Polish-speaking pilgrims, the Pope observed that "the time of vacation is a gift of God," and that "thanks to the rest we take we recover the energies necessary for our life's subsequent journey."

"As for those who are unable to leave work -- I am thinking in particular of farmers who are occupied with the harvest -- I hope that they are able to rejoice in the fruits of their labor" and that "in this work they too can find some period of rest and joy," he said.

There will be no Wednesday audiences on July 11, 18 and 25. The general audiences will begin again on Aug. 1.

Benedict XVI will deliver his traditional Sunday address and recite the Angelus July 15 at Castello di Mirabello.

On July 22, the Angelus will be recited by the Pope in the piazza of Lorenzago di Cadore.

The Holy Father will travel July 27 to the summer papal residence at Castel Gandolfo, located some 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Rome.

Benedict XVI will visit the shrine of Loreto from Sept. 1 to 2 for a meeting with Italian youth. More than 300,000 participants are expected from Italy, and 800 from abroad.