Despite Injury, Pope's Schedule Unchanged

Plans Vacation Days With Brother

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AOSTA, Italy, JULY 22, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is well and is adapting to living with his wrist in a plaster cast after he fell and fractured it last Thursday, affirmed the Vatican spokesman.



Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, reported today that despite everything, the Pope is in good humor.

Since he cannot use a pen easily, he is equipped with a tape recorder to dictate his thoughts, said the priest.

When the Pontiff arrived to Les Combes in the Aosta Valley on July 13, he explained that his days in the Alps would be "vacation for rest and also a bit of work, but above all, rest."

He will remain in northern Italy until July 29, and then will go to the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, some 19 miles south of Rome, where he will remain for the rest of the summer.

Father Lombardi reported that the Holy Father has been speaking regularly over the phone with his brother, who will join him for four weeks in Castel Gandolfo, as in previous years.

Today, the priest said, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's secretary of state, came to visit in a helicopter from his nearby hometown, Romano Canavese.

Visits

After a meeting, they had lunch together, and the cardinal returned home to prepare for his departure to Rome planned for the following morning.

Father Lombardi noted that the purpose of the meeting was to prepare a July 28 conference the cardinal was invited to present about "Caritas in Veritate."

The invitation was extended by Renato Schifani, president of the Italian senate.

The spokesperson stated that Benedict XVI has otherwise continued with his usual daily schedule, including a short walk after lunch.

He has not had to modify his programmed schedule, despite the injury and subsequent surgery, Father Lombardi reported Sunday, which includes two more public events: vespers on Friday and the midday Angelus on Sunday.

Today's communiqué noted that the schedule for Friday has been defined; the Pontiff will celebrate vespers in the Aosta cathedral at 5:30 p.m.

He plans to reach Aosta in a closed car, where he will be greeted by the authorities.

At the cathedral, some 400 people will be present, including priests, religious, lay people to represent every parish, office and Church organization in that diocese.

During vespers, which will be in Italian and French, the Holy Father will give a homily.

After the celebration, Benedict XVI will greet the faithful outside the cathedral, and on his return trip will stop to greet the sick at the local retirement home.