Vacationing Pope: a Rainy Walk, a Paperless Homily

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INTROD, Italy, JULY 24, 2009 ( The Italian resort where Benedict XVI is vacationing is preparing a public encounter with the Pope: He will pray the midday Sunday Angelus with some 5,000 people who are expected for the event.

Les Combes, nestled in the Aosta Valley of the Italian Alps, is hosting the Holy Father through July 29. Last Sunday, he prayed the midday Angelus in Romano Canavese, the birthplace of his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. This weekend, however, he will go no farther than the meadow surrounding his vacation chalet.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, explained today how Les Combes is preparing for their papal encounter. The bleachers and flowers were already being set up.

Meanwhile, the Holy Father is continuing his vacation schedule, taking afternoon strolls even if the weather doesn't cooperate. Thursday, for example, he went out despite the rain. On Wednesday, he came across an ill woman, and expressed his hopes for her speedy recovery.

And he continues to accept the incapacities caused by his fractured wrist. Today when he celebrated vespers at the cathedral in Aosta, he delivered his homily without notes -- he is unable to write, with his right hand immobilized with the cast.