Pontiff Heads to Alps for Vacation

Urges All to Drive Safely

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 12, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI will begin his two weeks of annual vacation on Monday in Les Combes in Valle d'Aosta.



Before leaving Rome, this Sunday the Pontiff asked the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the recitation of the Angelus to accompany him with prayer during this time.

"Prayer does not know distances and separations: wherever we are, it makes us one heart and one soul," he explained, speaking from the window of his study in the apostolic palace at the Vatican.

"In regard to departures, I will take this occasion once again to stress the duty of all to be prudent in driving and to respect highway laws," he added. "A good vacation truly begins with this!"

During his vacation the Pope has planned at least two public appearances. On July 19, he will recite the Marian prayer in the Ruggia Plaza of Romano Canavese, in the Diocese of Ivrea. On July 26, he will pray with the faithful at the residence of Les Combes.

After his stay in the Aosta Valley, Benedict XVI will travel to the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, where he will remain until the end of September.

In a statement, Bishop Giuseppe Anfossi of Aosta said his diocese and "the whole Valdostan community will welcome with joy the return of His Holiness Benedict XVI among us. We will try to make ready everything that we can so that his vacation is a serene one and allows him an authentic 'period of rest.'"

"For all Valdostans the Pope’s presence is a great honor," he added. "For believers it represents a moment of grace."