Pope Benedict XVI’s Warm Parting. Embrace to the City of Milan
Hundreds of people had gathered in Piazza Fontana to salute the Pope with a banner written in German: “Vergelt’s Gott” (“God Bless You”)
The Holy Father arrived just after 4.30 p.m. in the courtyard of the Archdiocesan Residence, where, at the foot of the Honorary Staircase, he said his goodbyes to employees, collaborators and some of the volunteers who during the past month have given their time and Energy to the Milano Families 1021 Foundation with superb professionalism.
Around one hundred people were there to applaud him, moved, and grateful for the three days he dedicated to the City of Milan.
Men and women of all ages worked on this project; some began three years ago, some just a few months ago. All had a common objective: the well-being of the Pope and the thousands of families who would come to Italy from all over the world for the Meeting.
“I don’t know the details, but I know you have worked very hard,” said the Holy Father, “with a spirit of generosity which does honor to Christianity.”
After giving the Papal Blessing, the Holy Father boarded the Pope-mobile and headed to the Linate Airport.
Benedict XVI had already said his goodbyes privately to the members of the Milan Families 2012 Foundation, some of whom were received by the Pope with their families.
An hour before, hundreds of people had gathered in Piazza Fontana to salute the Pope with a banner written in German: “Vergelt’s Gott” (“God Bless You”). There was a sort of “human ribbon” of people all along the road to the Linate Airport, which accompanied the Pope’s trip with waves of deafening applause and shouts of acclamation and thanks as he passed by.
At Linate Airport the Pope was met by the Papal Procession and the local Authorities: Andrea Riccardi, representing the Government and the Ministry for Integration and International Cooperation, the Mayor of Milan Giuliano Pisapia, the President of the Region Roberto Formigoni, the President of the Province of Milan Guido Podestà, the Prefect Gian Valerio Lombardi, the Police Commissioner of Milan Alessandro Marangoni, and the Italian Ambassador to the Vatican Francesco Maria Greco.
Before boarding his plane the Holy Father sent his parting regards to Mons. Erminio de Scalzi, President of the Milano Families 2012 Foundation, Mons. Ennio Antonelli, President of the Pontifical Council on Families, and lastly, to the Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola. Twice, before going on board, the Holy Father turned to salute the crowd, in a warm and informal manner, just as friends who have spent three satisfying days together do.